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‘Afternoon Tea with Our Lady’ in Tortuga

Who is a more powerful intercessor than Mary? So asked Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Fortunatus Nwachukwu at a May 26 Mass that preceded the Tortuga RC Church’s annual ‘Afternoon Tea with Our Lady’.

Preaching the homily on the theme Celebrating Our Lady’s Intercession, His Excellency announced that it was Mary’s prayer and her confidence and trust which led to the miracle at the wedding feast at Cana. “There is no other person in the Bible who is able to make Jesus, and that is to make God do something when it is not God’s hour.”

In referencing John 2:3, the nuncio said Mary told her Son there was no wine and His response was that His hour had not yet come. “Mary tells how to pray with confidence. She sits there quietly. She does not argue with Him; she does not try to explain; she does not even try to insist. She simply goes away full of confidence but in trust … She simply turns to the servants and says, do whatever He tells you, which meant she knew that He was going to tell them something. What a confidence.”

He said Mary is not there to compete with Jesus but she is significant because of her Son. “God chose her; who am I to refuse her? … As God chose her to give Jesus to us, we also choose her to get back to Jesus and to God. It is simple logic.”

The archbishop explained that there are two types of prayers—direct supplication and mediation. He said we should not hesitate to pray when we are in need, to give thanks when we have joy and to join with others, praying for them to obtain favours.

The nuncio said some people are discouraged in prayer when they want the Lord to do what they wish and exactly at the time they wish it. “If God does not obey you, you get offended that my prayers are not being answered. Let us learn how to pray. Present your needs to the Lord constantly and then leave the Lord to His job.”

He mentioned that the secret of making it into Heaven is not to be childish but to become child-like. “Being like little children, He is telling them to be born anew.” The nuncio said Jesus is asking us to recognise that we are naked, as a newborn child and that we came with nothing and will leave in the same manner.

His Excellency’s deputy Msgr Julien Kaboré concelebrated the Mass with Tortuga’s Parish Priest Fr Jose Marie; Rev Simon Rostant assisted.

Prior to Mass, there were Marian devotions and benediction, and at the end of the beautiful celebration, it was off to have tea. Scores of patrons gathered and were seated comfortably under tents on the presbytery’s grounds.

Acclaimed singer Natasha Babwah-Tim Kee began the live entertainment with ‘The Prayer’ and moved on to an upbeat ballad and then to sing ‘Burbujas de Amor’. The crowd later sang along with her during the “back-in-times Marian hymns”. Classical pianist, 17-year-old Jamal Winchester shared his talent as he accompanied her on the keyboard.

Between enjoying various treats which included cookies donated by the Syrian Lebanese Women’s Association and ice cream from parishioner Phillip Lewis, 25 sponsored door prizes were drawn.

In her vote of thanks, President of the Tortuga Shrine Committee of Our Lady of Montserrat, Diane Bertrand, said the proceeds from this event will be used for the new restoration phase of the 140-year-old church. Anyone wishing to donate can make cheques payable to Friends of Tortuga RC Church. Visit www.ourladyofmontserrat.org for information. – A parishioner