Over 200 Catholics across Guyana participated in the August 26–27 National Catholic Stewardship Conference 2017 at Christ the King parish in Suddie, north of the capital, Georgetown. This was the first time the event was held on the Essequibo Coast, according to a September 1 Catholic Standard report.
Under the theme Stewarding our families at home and in the church, day one of the conference involved five workshops led by members of the Diocesan Stewardship Council on ‘Building a culture of life’; ‘3T’s’ (Time, Treasure, Talent); ‘Catechists’; ‘Christian Leadership for Youths’; and ‘Music’ by Bishop Francis Alleyne of Georgetown.
In his plenary session, Bishop Alleyne explained the importance of music and singing which is a sign of the heart’s joy (Acts 2:46). He highlighted the functions and importance of music in the Liturgy, the roles of the music ministry and the importance of a processional song being accompanied by liturgical action.
Saturday’s activities culminated with a campfire night at which participants showcased their talents through song, poetry and skits.
The final day of the conference began with Mass. Bishop Alleyne was the main celebrant, with Frs Humberto Villa IVE-, Superior for the Guyanese missions, and Pedro Torres IVE, parish priest, Santa Rosa mission, Moruca, concelebrating.
In his homily, Bishop Alleyne posed the question “Who do you say Jesus is?” to parishioners. He proclaimed, “the more we understand God’s faith, we have to be agents and witnesses to great news. So, as we follow the footsteps of Peter, we see him shoulder his responsibility until his death. What he’s asking us to do is to continue our journey so we can in turn say who Jesus is.”
The first session on ‘Lay Leadership in a Catholic Community’ was presented by Rock Beharry, Director of the Diocesan Stewardship Council. He reminded participants that “some things would be done a particular way, some we can make changes; we should be open to changes,” adding that we are all connected to each other, hence we are in communion with each other in Christ. “Our faith is not personal/private, it’s shared communion,” he said.
Bishop Alleyne did the final plenary session on social issues in which he explained the ten principles of Catholic Social Teaching. This was followed by a workshop on ‘Visiting the Sick’ by Fr Villa.
In closing remarks, Bishop Alleyne commented on how impressed he was with the participants, which he said showed that the faith is alive in the communities.