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Listen to the Church’s voice

By Juliana Valdez

Over the last few weeks, citizens have come to realise in more ways than one, that affairs of this world impact us, too. It does not matter that some people think we are, as one radio personality describes us, “a two-by-four” country, the world is a global village and we are affected by the good and bad of this ‘village’ alike.

Viewing reports of the onset and subsequent continuation of this COVID-19 situation, it is easy to understand why so many people are panicking and the prophets of doom and gloom are fuelling the fear.

Tourism is one of our major financial sources of income and the fear of tourists bringing the virus to our shores, the proliferation of misinformation and fake news coming from the social media, and ignorance of the real facts are the factors which are damaging the efforts of the authorities to enlighten and educate citizens about what is really happening.

The Church too, has its role to play in ensuring that her members are informed, enlightened, educated and protected as the threat of this virus continues to be a major concern. So with all this in mind, our Archbishop, in union with the clergy has embarked on a series of programmes geared towards fulfilling the goals mentioned above.

I have viewed the Archbishop on various programmes on NOW, Trinity, etc, explaining the Church’s position and the measures being taken re COVID-19.

We human beings are people of habit. All may not be in agreement with the measures being taken, especially where the Eucharist is concerned. I too had my doubts and was confused and this was compounded by reading the comments on social media and listening to others ask questions and make statements regarding the measures we are being asked to take heed of.

Jesus said, “I am the Good Shepherd, I know my sheep and they know me, they listen to my voice.” So I listened to the voice of my shepherd who stands in Persona Christi, leading our Holy Roman Catholic Church here in the Archdiocese of Port of Spain.

Although I firmly believe that one drop of Jesus’ Precious Blood is greater than any principalities and powers of darkness; I know now that the restrictions have to do with the possibility of the vessel (chalice/cup) coming into contact with contaminated hands and mouths.

I also remembered, as I learnt in Catechism class as a child preparing for first Holy Communion, that “Christ is received whole and entire under either kind alone.”

I also believe that showing one another the peace sign (V formed by index and middle finger) with a smile and whispering “The peace of Christ,” is just as effective as a handshake or hug during the sign of peace.

The washing and sanitising of hands, sneezing and coughing in the flexed elbow, etc., is for our own benefit. They are measures we would take in public to safeguard ourselves anyway.

I don’t think it has anything to do with changing the traditions and teachings of the Church. Nothing to do with Transubstantiation being a falsehood. Nothing to do with having no faith. Nothing to do with our leaders instilling fear in the minds of the flock.

Instead, it has everything to do with using the wisdom, knowledge and understanding given to us by the Holy Spirit and trusting in Almighty God to continue leading and guiding us, the Body of Christ here on earth.

Jesus, I trust in You.