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In the eyes of the world – Aug 19

In the eyes of the world – Aug 19 PDF Print E-mail

Revitalising Catholic Culture and IdentityBy Vernon Khelawan

Two recent acts, both outside of Trinidad and Tobago, have brought into sharp focus the absolute need for us here in the Archdiocese of Port of Spain, to really push ahead with efforts to highlight the Second Pastoral Priority – Revitalising Catholic Culture and Identity.

The first took place in Hollywood, California, where a Trinidad and Tobago contingent took “Best Costume” honours when they participated in the Parade of Nations in the opening event of the 16th annual World Championships of Performing Arts (WCOPA) displaying the 2012 costumes of Word Associates, referred to locally as the Catholic Band.

The other happening was in the midst of competition at the London Olympics. A female Ethiopian athlete, who after winning a race, pulled out from her bosom a piece of cloth with an image of the Blessed Virgin on it, kissed it and then showed it to the world. The international press said nothing about that action. But it must have meant so much to the athlete that she repeated the action three times.

Although both these actions remain far removed from whatever we might do here in Trinidad and Tobago relative to revitalising our Catholic culture and identity, they brought home the fact that this initiative is not a matter for our Archdiocese alone but one that concerns the whole Church.

Rewind two years back and recall the many negatives associated with the announcement that Roman Catholics (and others) were going to be parading on the streets in costumes on the Carnival days. Defying great odds the band, though small, was an instant hit even winning a top prize in a category. This year it was bigger and better, furthering the theme of revitalising our Catholic culture and identity.

In almost every Olympics and even in lesser competitions, it is not unusual to see athletes making the sign of the cross before the event, but in the case of the Ethiopian athlete, whether she was Catholic or not, that display of faith in the Blessed Virgin, was so significant and impactful that it must have resonated throughout the world.

Today the local Church, led by Archbishop Joseph Harris, will gather in their thousands at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva to celebrate a special Mass to mark the Golden Jubilee of our nation’s Independence in another fantastic display of Catholic culture and identity, which has now developed great traction as we pursue the evangelisation process contained in the second pastoral priority.