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Calling all men of God to transform church, T&T

The NCMM Leadership Team: (from left) Kyle Dardaine, Matthew Hall, Deacon Lennox Toussaint, Peter Timothy, Leonard Birmingham, Deacon Derek Walcott and Allan Julien. Photo: Elmo Griffith

By Kaelanne Jordan, kjordan.camsel@rcpos.org

The launch of the National Catholic Men’s Ministry (NCMM) does not indicate that men will now “take over” or suggest unhappiness with the women who have taken the “strain” of church for many years.

Rather, according to Archbishop Jason Gordon, the diocesan movement is symbolic of the church calling forth the “incredible strength” of men like St Joseph—men who are just and honourable, men of God and protectors of family life.

“This is not about power, this is not about domination, this is not about who’s better than who. We are equal and different, bringing different qualities and different gifts to the church, to the family and nation. And both sets of gifts—the feminine genius and the masculine security are both required if you are going to build a healthy and wonderful church and a solid and prosperous nation,” Archbishop Gordon said.

He was the main celebrant at a Mass to commemorate the launch last Tuesday, March 19, the Solemnity of St Joseph, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

The pews and seats of the Cathedral were filled to capacity and males—young and old and from various walks of life, stood in various corners of the church. In attendance were various Catholic men’s groups representing the parishes of Toco/ Matelot, Chaguanas, Erin, Assumption and Paramin to name a few, and ecclesial communities like Living Water Community, Emmanuel Community and Companions of the Transfigured Christ (CTC).

Seven men were commissioned to be the Leadership Team of the NCMM: Episcopal Delegate for Evangelisation Peter Timothy, Leonard Birmingham, Deacons Derek Walcott and Lennox Toussaint, Kyle Dardaine and Matthew Hall of CTC, and Allan Julien of the Chaguanas Men’s Ministry.

In delivering his homily, the Archbishop invited the congregation to use St Joseph as their patron saint and guide in every aspect—church and family life. He explained, “To call Joseph our patron is to raise the masculine bar very, very high and nothing less than this will help us to do the transformation that is required for Trinidad and Tobago today.”

Archbishop Gordon added, “…we are calling forth men to the vocation, to contemplate your vocation, to discern it and then to live it with everything that you have, to give yourself completely to Christ, not holding back but generously give yourself. And if we do this together, we will see a beautiful church, nation and a very different family emerging.”

He explained that the nets draped along the pews of the centre aisle were a reminder of the call to Peter and all men to become “fishers of men”.

The women present were invited to pray for the men and to accompany them on their journey, “To be with us as we seek to become men of God and as we seek to call men into missionary discipleship and into saints within Trinidad and Tobago.”

Archbishop Gordon also addressed a “special day” for the archdiocese. He mentioned that 51 years ago, Archbishop Anthony Pantin, whom he described as a man of God, a man who defended the poor, a just and honourable man and a man who had his heart configured to Christ was consecrated on the feast of St Joseph.

The Archbishop announced St Joseph Day was also the birthday of Archbishop Emeritus Joseph Harris. Celebrating priestly anniversaries on the feast day were Fr Dwight Merrick and concelebrants Msgr Esau Joseph and Fr Herbert Charles CSSp.