The Redemptorists leadership of the Baltimore Province said that they are not in a position to reverse its decision for the parishes of Trinidad.
Fr Paul Borowski CSsR, Redemptorist Provincial Superior has maintained that as of April 1, Easter Sunday, the Redemptorists will “hand back” pastoral care of the parish of St Theresa’s RC Church, Barataria to the Archdiocese of Port of Spain.
This decision was communicated in an email dated February 13 from Fr Borowski to Fr Elton LeTang CSsR, moderator, Barataria/El Socorro Cluster, and Christine Chee You, Public Relations Officer, St Theresa’s RC, Barataria and Our Lady of Perpetual Help RC, El Socorro. In it, Rev Borowski said that the decision has caused him “many sleepless nights” and that it was not an easy decision.
“It pains me to have to withdraw Redemptorists from parish commitments, but we have to withdraw due to personnel shortage. If not St Theresa’s, it would have to be another parish (that like you) I am positive would be petitioning the Redemptorists to stay. The vocation shortage is a reality we must all face.”
The correspondence also acknowledged a copy of a Catholic News article ( January 28, pg 20), emails and “passionate pleas” for the Redemptorists to stay.
“Ms Chee You, thank you also for the petition and Fr LeTang handed me the signatures to the petition when I saw him in St Lucia….All these items, including the thoughts you both shared with me in your emails was presented at our Council meeting….Again, I thank you for the information as well as your zeal for the Catholic Church, especially in Trinidad.”
The appeals, which first began January 12, and continued online that same month has since reached 445. The petition has now been closed.
Chee You expressed warm thanks to all who supported the petition and love and appreciation to the Redemptorists. She added that their presence has left a tremendous impression in their hearts.
Fr Borowski made reference to the Catholic News article which mentioned that the departure of Fr LeTang will result in no Redemptorist presence in Trinidad.
In reality, he said, there is already a lack of Redemptorist presence in Trinidad since Fr LeTang “is by himself” and “as Redemptorists we are called to live and minister in community.” The present Redemptorist Council would like a minimum of three men to form a Redemptorist community, Fr Borowski said.
“We are an ageing religious order. The number of ordinations and profession we will have over the next few years are indeed a few—with many years seeing zero ordinations. We are presently in the process of withdrawing not only from St Theresa’s but from five parishes in the United States as well.”
On the other hand, Fr Borowski said that he is pleased to hear of the great work the Redemptorists are doing in proclaiming the Good News but wished they had more men to help in its mission.
He concluded his correspondence asking for prayers for himself, other members of the Council as they struggle with these decisions to leave parishes, for all parishes staffed by the Redemptorists that they may be withdrawing from, and finally, for an increase of vocations to the priesthood, religious life and especially the Redemptorists. – KJ