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P/Town parishioners encouraged to stand under the cross

The Princes Town parish community celebrated our feast day, the Exaltation of the Holy Cross with Holy Mass last Sunday. This celebration was the culmination of a nine-day novena to the Holy Cross. The actual feast day (September 14) was the seventh day of the novena and was celebrated with an anointing Mass with Fr David Khan, Vicar for the Southern Vicariate.

Holy Cross RC Church was filled to capacity as the faithful attended to celebrate the feast day. Fr Santhosh, parish priest, used Pope Francis’ quotation “There is no Christianity without a cross and there is no cross without Jesus Christ” in his opening remarks before introducing the chief celebrant, Vicar General Fr Martin Sirju.

In his homily, Fr Sirju, a former parish priest, focused on our identity as an individual, as a Roman Catholic, as a Church, and as a nation in a time when we are so influenced by the USA.

He stated that Catholic people must lift up our minds, hearts and bodies to God. He continued that as a Catholic people, we should stand under the cross and recognise it as our religious identity.

When we sign ourselves, we touch the forehead as we say, “In the name of the Father” and we touch the chest [heart] as we say “and of the Son” but in fact we should focus on the belly.

He said that it was in the belly where emotions are most felt. He used the analogy of a young girl on seeing her boyfriend feels joy not in the heart but more so in her belly, which brought light chuckles from the congregation.

Fr Sirju said that we should not only ask the Holy Spirit to bless and purify us during Pentecost but every time we bless ourselves. He concluded saying that as we stand under the cross, we should pray for the transformation of our Church to make us a chosen race, a holy nation called out of darkness to God’s wonderful light.

At the end of Holy Mass, parishioners shared in a sumptuous lunch as an afternoon of entertainment began. Children were engaged in dancing the maypole. Comedy followed as the comedian, ‘The Saint’, added spice to the afternoon with humour that had the audience in fits of laughter.

There was parang in September with Los Buenos Parranderos, and the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force Steel Orchestra offered sweet steelpan music.

It was a memorable feast day for Holy Cross parish. A combination of team work, camaraderie and love of hardworking parishioners contributed to this successful event. — Story and photo, Annette Lall Singh, parishioner