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Youth encouraged to always care for creation

St Francis Canticle Creation Awards

By Kaelanne Jordan
Twitter: @kaelanne1

The third annual St Francis Canticle Creation Award Ceremony Saturday, October 17 not only saw Catholic school students creating projects that utilised their “best talents” and minds, but the challenge also provided youth and young adults the opportunity to familiarise themselves with Laudato Si’ and in turn, “teach” adults how to live this document.

The event, which was hosted by the Franciscan Institute for Personal and Family Development, a ministry of the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother (SSM) had as its theme Jubilee for the Earth: New Rhythms, New Hope. The day also marked the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

Among the distinguished guests present via Zoom were Archbishop Jason Gordon, Bishop Clyde Harvey of St George’s-in-Grenada, General Superior Sr Catherine Marie Hanegan SSM and guests from international organisations such as the Global Catholic Climate Movement.

Domenica Reyes, Laudato Si’ Generation Co-Chair sent her greetings.

Sr Julie Marie Peters SSM served as Master of Ceremony. In her opening remarks, she explained that the Season of Creation activity was conceived in July 2018 and came to fruition September that same year.

The aim, she shared, was to make Laudato Si’ “known” “because at the time it really wasn’t spoken about in the Caribbean”.

Sr Gillian Jerome SSM in Grenada further explained that one of the directives of the SSM’s 22nd General Assembly invited the Sisters to promote collaboration, intercultural understanding, and respect for all of creation.

For the past two years, the Franciscan Institute’s Season of Creation challenge was exclusive to Trinidad. This year’s challenge was extended to participants from Grenada and St Lucia and persons outside the Caribbean region who share the same passion in caring for our common home.

Saturday’s ceremony saw the presentation of awards with winners from the Literature, Visual Arts, Agriculture and Open categories. All projects were submitted by Catholic primary and secondary schools, parishes, youth groups, and open.

Participants were judged on the following criteria: creativity, originality, the impact their project would have on the environment and the community either immediately or the potential for impact, the relevance to the theme and the quality of the presentation.

Overall, participants were as young as age six up to age 18 and over.

The local awardees included various students from the Maria Regina Grade School and Sr Annette Chow SJC for the over 18 Agriculture category.

Maria Regina was also awarded the Season of Creation challenge plaque as the most outstanding primary school. Regionally, the most outstanding youth ministry was awarded to parish priest in Grenada, Fr Sean Doggett, and the parish of Our Lady Help of Christians. Congratulations were also extended to the Our Lady of The Assumption parish, Vieux Fort, St Lucia as the most outstanding parish/youth group in that archdiocese.

In giving brief remarks, Archbishop Gordon said that the Season of Creation challenge is “vital” both for the present and the future of the Church.

“Vital for the present because we have so little consciousness about the ecological challenges that we are facing. Vital for the future because if we don’t face these challenges very consciously and work tirelessly to build a better world then what will happen is the future will become more bleak as we hand on a world to our young people that will not be anything like what we received ourselves,” the Archbishop said.

He shared a story of the Manavati family, (Hindi for humanity) who were “reckless and wasteful” and littered every nook and cranny.

“They took no heed and simply went on as they were. They damaged the land by overplanting and using bad chemicals; they began cutting wood from the forest without replanting. They reaped what they did not sow, and they were unbothered about depleting the resources intended for the next generation…. The clearer the signs that things were drastically wrong was the blinder the elders were becoming…. They took no notice of what the young people said….”

To this end, Archbishop Gordon posed this question to participants: “If this was your family what would you do?”

He reminded all that the teaching of the Church is that the goods of the earth were given to all people. Even if the older generation do not believe you, “Don’t give up, I beg you”, the Archbishop beseeched youth.

“The little bits that you do, every little drop will help to make our world a better place,” he asserted.