Phillippa Allard prepared the following report on the July 8 Catholic Bible Institute Graduation.
Bright rays of the mid-morning sun spotlighted the graduands of the Catholic Bible Institute as they proceeded from the grounds into the Lady of Victory church. According to Principal Wendy Ann Jones, their maroon-coloured gowns symbolised the royal blood of Jesus.
Joyously singing ‘Marching in the Light of God’, they were led by sister Deborah De Rosia, Dean of Studies/Foundress, and immediately followed by teaching staff. Principal Wendy Ann Jones, and officiating priest Fr Wilfred John, brought up the rear of the procession.
Entitled The Word of God and the Holy Spirit Inflaming the Heart of the Nation, the theme for the graduation Mass and ceremony was relevantly developed by Fr Wilfred John, and Principal Jones.
In his homily, Fr John contrasted the authenticity of Christ’s message with that of heretical Gnostics (ca 200 AD), who offered salvation through knowledge; an intellectual system where they considered themselves to be ‘above and separate’ from the rest of mankind.
Another issue highlighted was the urgent need for salvation of the youth apparently imprisoned in a world of head and cell phones so that God’s message could not be heard. He pointed out another audience to be targeted: people who despite the attractions of the secular world, remained unhappy and listened to everything except the Good News of Christ. He said it was the duty of graduands to act as instruments to spread Christ’s message of salvation.
Ending with an inspirational quote, “He who perseveres to the end would receive a reward”, Fr John assured them of the “stamp of approval of Jesus, the Church and the Magisterium” in going forth to the ends of the world.
De Rosia picked up on this theme during her welcome address, and advised the graduands to be ‘lights of Christ’. Similarly, in her commissioning exercise to the graduands, Jones reinforced Fr John’s message by emphasising their need for transformation. This was directed specifically to the groups graduating from the ‘Evangelisation’ ministry and those from the ‘Gift of the Spirit Workshop’.
She challenged them by questioning whether they had continued ongoing work since completing their studies and reiterated the need to minister to those “crying out to experience the mercy of God”. In congratulating the graduates, Jones specially recognised those who belonged to the Anglican and Baptist faiths since learning experiences were enriched by such diversity in the classrooms.
Both valedictorians, Kesondae Ramsaroop representing participants of the ‘Pastoral Ministry’ programme, and Anthony Rock, those for the ‘Diploma in Bible’ programme, expressed thanks and appreciation for the teaching staff. Rock described the variety of skills and strategies employed in the delivery of both programmes, itemising strategies such as calypso, poetry, drama and animated videos, which he noted were integral to the teaching/ learning process. Rock especially commended Sr Deborah for raising the bar of excellence which she demanded from her students.
Subsequent to the Mass and ceremony, group photos were taken in the garden and then a sumptuous lunch was enjoyed by all.