Bishop Francis Alleyne OSB of Georgetown is calling for “lively conversation” and a deepening of “collective participation and holistic discernment” on a number of national issues during the Lenten season.
In his Lenten message to the faithful in the diocesan weekly Catholic Standard, the bishop specifically referred to the emerging oil and gas sector along with the recent laying off of 5,000 workers in the sugar industry saying, “It is with urgency and with everyone on board in concern for our sugar workers that can offer a fitting display of nationhood”.
Bishop Alleyne said while the information and debate on this reality for the most part is put in the context of politics and economics, the language of human dignity, sanctity of life, right relationship, being our brother’s/sister’s keeper and human rights exchanged among all citizens, would better dispose the nation to accompany each other towards a more secure Guyana.
The bishop observed that the Church invites all to put aside forty days, not simply out of tradition or custom or habit but in the spirit with the icons of “forty”– i.e. forty years in the desert, forty days of flood, forty days of journey for Elijah and Jonah and on the First Sunday in Lent, Jesus’ forty days in the wilderness.
“Each of these ‘forties’ features something very special for a person and for a people. Each icon speaks of and is symbolic of a process, of conversation and fulfillment. He continued, “Each of these scripture ‘icons’ were drawn from real experiences and struggles which were examined and discerned in the light of conversion, truth, process and renewal that would lead to fullness of life. This is the spirit in which, each year, we are invited to examine our own realities with their elements of struggle and hope,” Bishop Alleyne said.
In the message, the bishop mentioned other realities which come to mind as the diocese engages in ongoing narratives about crime, corruption and exploitation.
These, he said, are not the ways of a people “stamped with the likeness of God”.
Ultimately, Bishop Alleyne hoped that the Lenten period be a mark of 40 days opening the ways to resurrection and new life.