It has been “50 years of grace” for the Church international, regional and local, said Archbishop Jason Gordon. As members of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) begin another 50 years, they must reflect and ask themselves pertinent questions.
“As we move to the next 50 years, we have to ask ourselves how do we promote renewal and unity at the same time; how do we bring people to an encounter with Jesus Christ and bend their heart to the will of God,” he said.
Archbishop Gordon was preaching the homily at last Sunday’s CCR’s 50th Anniversary Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. He is a member of the Living Water Community.
He continued, “as we move to the next 50 years, we have to ask ourselves how we as Church serve the poor, not just handing a plate of food but to giving genuine love so the poor experience themselves as people, as people who have dignity and worth.” Earlier in his homily, Archbishop Gordon recalled the early days of the CCR. “The Renewal did something in the Church that woke up the Church at a moment when the Church in Caribbean needed to be woken up.” He said locally the Church was leaving behind its colonial past after becoming a young nation, had its first local archbishop (Archbishop Anthony Pantin), and was still adapting following the Second Vatican Council.
“The Renewal allowed the people of the Caribbean to find a way of expression of Christianity that reverberated with Caribbean soul.” It was a freedom of expression they did not have an avenue before, he added, and this “freedom of worship” allowed people to feel at home in their own skin while praising God.
Linking the gospel reading (Mt 25:1–13) with the occasion, he said when the Renewal began, it was like discovering that the bridegroom was here. It was a “joy beyond imagination” and it “captivated hearts of many people here and in the region”. But Archbishop Gordon challenged members to know what the oil and lamp were, otherwise “you may find yourself outside the celebration”.
The Archbishop later praised ecclesial communities for having “a really significant ministry to the poor” adding, “without the communities, the Church in T&T would be impoverished.”
Before the final blessing, Deborah de Rosia, chair of the CCR Service Team, brought greetings and highlighted coming activities in 2020 and 2021 to celebrate the anniversary which has as its theme Revolution of the Holy Spirit. More in a coming issue. —Raymond Syms, Editor