|Precious moments on D Avenue – Aug 31|
REGENERATING THE MORAL AND SPIRITUAL VALUES OF OUR SOCIETY
By Vernon Khelawan
Channel surfing last Saturday night, I came upon a live telecast of “Pan on D Avenue III” and decided to take my finger off the remote. And I am glad I did! Apart from the fantastic pan talent, which bridged several generations, there was a distinct display of maturity in the large crowd.
Although the event spawned a Carnival-like flavour, the behaviour was not truly that of the Carnival days street parade. People were properly clothed, casual and colourful, but decent and still able to enjoy the fun and festivity generated by the occasion.
This led to my comparing that Saturday night crowd to the behaviour of masqueraders on Carnival Monday and Tuesday. And then it hit me, maybe some of our parishes, in their endeavour to push the Third Pastoral Priority – Regenerating the Moral and Spiritual Values of Our Society – can look more seriously at culture to begin the turnaround.
Saturday night also reminded me of a letter to the Editor in one of our dailies, where the writer referred to costumes from three different bands. He cut out the photos from the newspaper, placed them side by side and wondered whether he was not looking at three different sections of one band, rather than three different presentations by three different organisations. They were all so wretchedly similar.
And, while as Catholics we will certainly try hard to realise the goals of the Third Priority, including through prayer, maybe deep inside the wide galaxy of our cultural norms resides a solution or two which can seriously impact our core values.
In Trinidad and Tobago almost everything enjoyable is “culture”. Noise, lewd dancing, river limes, excursions, fetes and parties of all kinds are all thrown into the basket of culture. We Catholics need to dip into that basket and come up with reasonable proposals that can go a long way in that uphill battle to restore dignity to our people.
Let’s look closely at dressing to attend Sunday Mass. Gone are the days when children, in particular, had “church clothes”. That has been replaced by washed-out T-shirts or those with messages emblazoned across the back and sometimes the front, jeans and slippers.
Here’s a point at which we can start the change process – proper dress to enter God’s house as we pay homage to the Blessed Sacrament and celebrate Holy Mass. Let’s see if we can bring back some old, but good values.