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Liturgy School – church at work

Juliana Valdez with a participant at Liturgy School 2017. Photo courtesy Gary Tagallie

When the broadcast of the July 29 ordination ceremony of Bishop-elect Clyde Harvey began, I was in the middle of preparations for Liturgy School, 2017. Fortunately, the television was close by so I was able to view the proceedings while still continuing my preparations.

There was wonder and awe and joy in my heart as I thanked God for His continued blessings and guidance of His Church. I marvelled at the procession of the clergy led by the dancers, joyfully dancing to the hymn Nita Mwimbiya Bwana (‘Sing now to God our Saviour’). Then when the choir followed with the entrance hymn, ‘Tell of My Love to the Islands’ one could understand the emotion expressed by Bishop-elect Harvey as he walked in the procession.

I viewed the gathering present to witness the event. Locals of Grenada and visitors from the other islands of the Caribbean coming together as Church to witness the favour of God upon one of His servants to serve, lead and guide the Body of Christ in Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, this mandate to serve made evident by Bishop-elect Harvey washing the feet of those selected, representing the clergy and laity. It was truly a holy and awe-inspiring event.

When the participants of Liturgy School gathered for Morning Prayer at the St Charles RC Parish Hall, Tunapuna on Monday morning, I felt that same sense of awe as I looked at the gathering. Over the following five days, I found myself being uplifted in many ways. You see, at the gathering for the ordination in Grenada, there was a mixture of the seniors along with the youth. At Liturgy School, the body participating was also a mixture of the seniors and the youth, participating and listening attentively to the discussions on the many areas of Liturgy and Popular Devotions, the theme of this year’s gathering.

The youth displayed interest, commitment, an eagerness to learn, to experience, to be part of all that was going on. This mixture of young and old coming together to participate in the many workshops signalled to me their readiness to take up the mantle of responsibility which will be entrusted to them. Hope then will be alive as they strive to ensure the continuation of the Body of Christ here on earth, the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

The youth displayed skills and talents in so many areas of ‘things Church’, from carrying out their duties as house mothers and fathers, the serving team, the wash-up crew, those with administrative duties, the concert planning and implementation team and their participation in their workshops.

I saw devotion, praise and worship, compassion towards the challenged, encouragement for the uncertain, physical assistance in doing, bringing and carrying where it was needed and humour to keep smiles on faces. I saw church at work and my fervent prayer was that it would not just be a Liturgy School experience, but an experience which would be transferred to the parishes and communities, where their skills and talents would be given the opportunity to take root and blossom, so that coming out of it, there would also be vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

It is my hope that those who participated this year will return next year bringing with them others who are serious about working in the vineyard of the Lord to ensure the words of Jesus Himself, that “….the gates of hell will never prevail” against His Church.