Senior deacon dies
October 27, 2020
Solemnity of All Saints
October 27, 2020

Mass for racial harmony in Guyana held in NY

The annual Mass for New York-based Guyanese Catholics and nationals, usually held in early October for the past 30 years, was initially cancelled this year on account of the COVID-19 pandemic and the civil unrest in New York City.

However, as Guyana suffered the aftermath from its national election in March which resulted in racial animosity and distrust among its people, exacerbated by the heinous murders of three in West Coast Berbice, Guyana-born Msgr Paul Jervis saw an urgency in gathering Guyanese Catholics to pray for their homeland.

Having shared his concerns with fellow Guyanese Rev Joseph Dass and members of the Guyanese Mass Committee, a special Mass was subsequently organised for racial harmony, peace, and reconciliation among the ethnic communities in Guyana.

The Mass was celebrated Sunday, October 18 at St Francis of Assisi Church, Brooklyn. Parish priest Msgr Jervis was the celebrant; Rev Dass delivered the homily.

According to a Catholic Standard report, the Mass “was a blessing”, for it was livestreamed for the first time and seen by the Catholic community in Guyana.

Former Cathedral altar server Terrence Pyle, now living in New Jersey, was able to involve two young persons in Guyana, Shania Sampson from the Catholic Church in Diamond, and Gibion Moonsammy from St Pius X Church, La Penitence in composing “very thoughtful and relevant prayers of the faithful which they themselves delivered via the Zoom media from Guyana”.

Rev Dass preached passionately in condemning racism which “is strangling the life of the Guyanese nation”. He said firmly that all Guyanese lives mattered, irrespective of race and all have to live in accordance with God’s commandment to love one another and not according to the Caesars of this world who foster division among peoples to conquer and subjugate one group over another.

The Mass was enlivened by the congregation’s singing of familiar Caribbean and Guyanese hymns led by Patricia Chan, formerly from Holy Spirit Church in South Ruimveldt.

The customary Guyanese Ave Maria was sung towards the end of Mass with the Guyanese and American National Anthems. The closing hymn was ‘Stand Together for what you believe.’

At the end of Mass Rev Dass urged all to stand together in unity as all strive to overcome racism in Guyana and in the United States.