By Lara Pickford-Gordon
The Companions of the Transfigured Christ (CTC) celebrated 20 years Thursday, August 6, the Feast of the Transfiguration.
A Mass to celebrate their milestone was held Sunday, August 9 at the Assumption RC Church. Archbishop Jason Gordon presided.
The founders look back with grateful hearts and ahead to another two decades supporting people to see the face of the transfigured Christ.
“As we look back it’s just been gratitude since then, and that’s where my mind has been these last few days thinking about in the midst of all our imperfections, our failings, our ups and downs, that I have been able to see, as Archbishop Anthony Pantin would have said ‘it’s all God’s work’. It’s all really been God’s work in us and through us,” Fr Mikkel Trestrail said August 5.
CTC was founded by Kyle Dardaine, Fr Trestrail and Shad Seaton. Fr Trestrail and Seaton shared a few reflections with the Catholic News.
Fr Trestrail, who was ordained last September says of the beginning, “We just started off as three guys who came together to pray and support each other and that blossomed into this charism and community of persons who are really trying to love the transfigured Christ and to companion Him in the world, in our brothers and sisters and in the Eucharist.” August 6 was the day Dardaine, Fr Trestrail and Seaton met.
They originally called themselves GANG—God’s anointed new generation. Fr Trestrail says he is grateful to former Archbishop Edward Gilbert CSsR who always challenged every time they met with him to answer, ‘Who are you?’. They reflected on their identity and became CTC.
They researched and saw there wasn’t another community in the world dedicated to the Transfigured Christ. “We feel so affirmed now with Pope Francis. He has brought this ministry to the fore, put language to it, [it] is almost like an endorsement of who we are,” Fr Trestrail says.
CTC originally had a focus on males, but Seaton said they recognised they could not affect the lives of males without affecting the lives of their families. He explains, “We realised it was important for all the vocations to exist, the priesthood, married life and single life.”
The change caused the community to blossom further. Seaton observes that strangely enough, the founders of the CTC are representative of each. “Mikkel was heading towards the priesthood. Kyle always talked about the single life, the religious life in that sense, and for me I was always heading it seemed toward married life.”
Fr Trestrail says it was in 2015 they discerned the call to have females respond to the charism and maybe one day there will be “Sisters” as members.
An early influence was the Focolare Movement, whose website states it “has the features of a large and varied family”.
Fr Trestrail says, their members live “almost like communes…having a number of different people from different vocations.” He adds, “It is reality now, we (CTC) have married couples; we have a priest; we have brothers. So, we see the charism from 20 years ago taking shape, it is very exciting for us.”
There are currently six members in Curacao, 17 covenant members in T&T and two brothers.
Seaton says, “The more we interacted with people the more we branched out but always continue to focus on our initial vision for the community and what God placed in our hearts how we would affect and be affected by people.”
The CTC offers after-school and mentorship programmes, retreats and workshops designed to help youth. Trestrail says the work of the CTC has evolved into human development and helping people to become the best versions of themselves spiritually and other areas of life.
“Everything is geared to helping people live a transfigured life. We want people to become the fullness of God’s vision like what happened at Mt Tabor [where] Jesus revealed His true self, His true nature to His friends.”
The CTC started the Tabor House Bistro June 2016, first located in Woodbrook and now at 8 Rookery Nook, Maraval. It is a means of supporting the community but also “an opportunity for ministry”.
Fr Trestrail continues, “Building relationships with our customers, trying to brighten their day through our service through our food.” Seaton says, “We allow our charism to reach out to people even when we serve them food.”
What about the next 20 years? Fr Trestrail says he does not know what will happen because he could not imagine 20 years ago where they would be today. He is however, hoping CTC can have property for members to live and work.
Fr Trestrail alludes to the financial challenges with rental expense while trying to provide for the community; one of his prayers is for things to stabilise in the future. “That will help take a lot of ease off of us and we can do a lot more of the work we have to do.”
Seaton intends to get married, “settle down” and be that aspect of the community focusing on marriage and family life. In the next 20 years, he says, “I think we forge ahead a plan to allow ourselves as CTC to be a force to be reckoned with but also to allow the baton to be passed on to other people.”
CTC has Masses 5 p.m. on Sundays at the school hall of Providence Girls’ Catholic Secondary, and Mondays at its Community Chapel, off Belmont Circular Road. Email email@example.com to confirm attendance.