The parish of St Anthony, Point Fortin celebrated its Patronal Feast Day on Wednesday June 13 with Archbishop Jason Gordon.The church, filled to capacity, eagerly awaited the archbishop’s arrival as this was his first official visit to Point Fortin. An elaborate procession of altar servers, Eucharistic ministers, Lay Ministers and Parish Priest Fr Antony Baskar-Jayaseelan MSFS preceded the archbishop on entry.
As the procession approached the altar, a very special presentation was made by the young children of the parish. They performed a song, and did a welcoming rite for the archbishop using coconuts and turmeric directed by Fr Baskar.
The words of the song sung in the Tamil dialect means, ‘Through the light we welcome the faithful, the priest and the Son of God’. This welcome song is used for major celebrations when special guests are greeted in India. The coconut represents a pure heart and a pure mind while the turmeric signifies a forgiving heart and the healing power of God. This welcome is reminiscent of the inculturation experienced by our former Archbishop Joseph Harris on his visit to India in January 2015.
In his homily, Archbishop Gordon said that our patron saint gives the parish its character and characteristics. As protector and intercessor for the parish, St Anthony opens the spiritual path that we should follow. He reminded us that St Anthony was a powerful preacher of the TRUTH of the Gospel which brought conversion of many to Jesus Christ.
Truth today it seems, comes down to what one believes, feels or likes, and anyone who is opposed to this becomes hated, considered objectionable and deemed prejudicial. The archbishop made it quite clear that truth is not a theory or something for negotiation but for us Christians, truth is a person and that person is Jesus Christ because He is ‘The Way, the Truth and the life’.
We were challenged as a parish to seriously engage the next generation by our way of life. They may not always listen to what we say but ‘hear’ what they see the adults do in their daily lives: so live as authentic Christian witnesses for the youths to see and follow.
The archbishop concluded with the admonition that we must educate ourselves on what the Church is teaching, on what the Church is believing and what the Church is proclaiming. We have for too long been lazy in our faith. Now we must engulf ourselves in that truth by availing ourselves of the many avenues of learning open to us by the Church.
The liturgy was enhanced by the melodious songs of the choir and at the meditation with the lights dimmed a beautiful rendition of the hymn to St Anthony sung by Marceline Peters created an ambiance of deep reflection.
The evening ended with a vote of thanks and tokens presented to the archbishop by Avalon Hospedales Julien. – Fr Antony Baskar-Jayaseelan MSFS and parishioners