By Kaelanne Jordan
As Zion RC Community celebrated its 40th anniversary with Holy Mass on Saturday, January 11 at the Pro-Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, San Fernando, co-foundress Mary Baptiste said that though there were many sacrifices, challenges, failures, mistakes and weaknesses in answering the Call, they thank God for His mercy and grace in working through their “crooked lines” to shape them personally and ultimately into His people.
“In a strange way, I don’t have the words to thank Jesus…Thank You for calling me at the time You called. Thank You for calling Margaret. Thank You for calling Janet and the 13 people who were brave to let these three young women lead them and guide them and form them in Christ,” Baptiste said in her remarks.
Zion RC Community grew out of the flame of Catholic Charismatic Renewal. In the early 1970s, three young lay women, Margaret-Mary Woods, Janette James (deceased) and Baptiste experienced profound spiritual transformation through the release of the Holy Spirit.
Later, the women having developed a friendship, felt called by God to come together and serve the Church and the society. In 1980, the trio concretised their commitment to God and others through the establishment of Zion RC Community.
Baptiste said that answering God’s Call in their early twenties meant they had to “drop” everything.
“I would be apart from my family for the next 40 years, all my brothers, all my sisters, all my nieces, everybody. The Call meant leaving our jobs….the Call involved personal relationships where you felt you will find happiness and just to drop everything and follow Him and build His Church and His people.”
Baptiste thanked the people of Trinidad and Tobago and other parts of the world where they ministered. She also thanked God for all the people who were hurt along the way and were able to forgive them.
“I want to say thank God for them too because they helped us to become humble so we can become teachable….And today I want to thank all the people who forgave us and still dreaming with us that we can become what God called us to be,” she said.
Also sharing remarks, co-foundress Margaret-Mary Woods thanked their parents who taught them their faith, siblings who oftentimes did not understand what they were about but continued to love and support them, and priests who over the years guided, journeyed and suffered with them. She too acknowledged the first 13 members of Zion Community, most of them deceased, by calling their names individually.
In delivering his homily, Archbishop Jason Gordon said that the gospel reading is an incredibly Trinidadian human text. He said if Christians and the Catholic Church in T&T were to learn from this “little piece of teaching” from John the Baptist of doing what God asks of us to do, “Oh what a Church we will be!”
“Because you know everybody believes that everybody taking they thing. If the energy that we spent in jealousy was spent in Kingdom-building, we would have had a much better Church than we have…” the Archbishop said.
Of the occasion, Archbishop Gordon said that in thanking God for the role that has been assigned to the co-foundresses of Zion Community, we too ought to give them every encouragement that they do what has been given to them in exceptional ways.