|A message for fathers – Feb 16|
REGENERATING THE MORAL AND SPIRITUAL VALUES OF OUR SOCIETY
By Vernon Khelawan
In his homily two Sundays ago – the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord, Fr Ferdinand Warner OP placed the responsibility of defining the Third Pastoral Priority, “Regenerating the Moral and Spiritual Values of our Society”, squarely in the domain of the family.
He said, “The home is the first Church,” and added, “The home should be a school of faith.” His statements should resonate loudly, not only throughout the Roman Catholic community, but the entire nation, as the struggle continues to come to grips with our declining values and lack of respect.
In a direct message to the nation’s fathers – and I suspect especially to the thousands of ‘deadbeat’ fathers now roaming the land, he repeated the baptismal blessing prayer over the father:
“May God bless the fathers of these children
With their wives they will be the first teachers
of their children in the ways of faith.
May they also be the best of teachers
bearing witness to the faith by what they say and do.”
To underscore the importance of a good home life, where both mother and father carry out their parental responsibilities in a manner pleasing to Jesus Christ, Fr Warner referred to the Catechism which states in 2225:
“Parents should initiate their children at an early age into the mysteries of the faith of which they are called to be the first heralds for their children. They should associate them from their tenderest years with the life of the Church. A wholesome family life can foster interior dispositions that are a genuine preparation for a living faith and remain a support for it throughout one’s life.”
What percentage of this nation’s fathers adheres to the principles in the two quotations above? We read the newspapers daily and listen to the nightly news and realise that this society of ours resides so far away from these tenets that the job of regenerating the moral and spiritual values in our society, to make it a healthier and better one, is a humongous task, which requires a lot more than the lip service it is now given at all levels of the society.
May we vigorously pursue and support all efforts to build a better Trinidad and Tobago, a nation which we can proudly acclaim as a true paradise.