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Renew the Church and family life through consecration to St Joseph

The National Catholic Men’s Ministry (NCMM) 33-day Consecration to St Joseph challenge should be a “launch pad” for a new family life and renewal for the Catholic Church in Trinidad and Tobago, said Archbishop Jason Gordon.

The challenge began February 15 and ended on the Solemnity of St Joseph, March 19 with Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

During the 33 days there were prayers, readings, and reflections on the attributes of St Joseph. It was part of activities locally for the special ‘Year of St Joseph’ December 8, 2020 —2021 which was proclaimed by Pope Francis in celebration of the 150th anniversary of Pope Pius IX’s declaration of St Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church.

Moving from the consecration to the “next stage of the journey”, Archbishop Gordon urged men and women to pick up their Bible and become men and women of the Word. “We have to devour the Word…and allow the Word to take home inside us,” he said.

Archbishop Gordon asked the congregation if they ever found themselves sleeping. He explained he was not referring to physical unconsciousness, but a state when God was not at the centre and actions were “without intention or purpose.”

He said, “The Desert Fathers say that spirituality is being awake to the truth of who God is, wake to the truth of the God who is present in every moment of every day.”

The Gospel of Matthew 1:16, 18–21, 24 tells of the Annunciation to St Joseph, when Joseph woke from his dream and did what the Lord asked. Joseph’s ‘yes’ allowed Mary and Jesus to be what God intended and through his lineage with David, “secures Mary and Jesus into the royal household”.

Archbishop Gordon referred to a Lenten retreat he conducted when he spoke about “holy moments” of when whatever God asked for, is done. “If we are willing as Joseph was willing to do the will of God, then brothers and sisters, we will have a renewed family life and we will have a renewed Trinidad and Tobago.”

For this to happen, the Christian must be willing to put God first. The “drama” in the nation will change, every creed and race will find an equal place and God will bless the nation. “…As we choose today Joseph as our patron, our protector, our guide, our mentor, our father… let us beg of him today that he schools us in the way of Torah and that he schools us in the way of humility,” the Archbishop said.

God made Joseph head of his household and he had deep humility and love for God, his wife Mary and Jesus. It was not a title of domination but of service. “Joseph  put himself at the service of Mary and Jesus with everything he had. He gave all,” Archbishop Gordon said.

He told the congregation his prayer was the 33 days of preparation acted as a way of rousing them from the unconscious. He prayed also that meditating on the different attributes and titles of St Joseph, the men have awakened to the truth and dignity of manhood.

If they have taken St Joseph as the measure of manhood, they would recognise there was a lot of growing to do. Archbishop Gordon added, “If we have meditated on the different titles of St Joseph, each title should say to us where we are in relationship to where God calls us as a man…and where we are not.”  Men should pray for St Joseph’s intercession to lead them to become all that God called them to be.

The prayer of consecration to St Joseph was recited at the end of the Mass, and Christopher Alexander was commissioned as a new member of the NCMM executive.

Archbishop Gordon was delighted when Episcopal Delegate for Evangelisation and NCMM executive member Peter Timothy presented him with a new chasuble designed with an image of St Joseph. He immediately removed his to don the gift presented to him on behalf of the NCMM. “You could see how much I like it; isn’t it beautiful?” he said.

Allan Julien of the NCMM executive gave thanks to many persons who helped make the 33-day challenge a success starting with the Archbishop. He also thanked Matthew Kelly, Catholic motivational speaker, author, and consultant who was the featured speaker for the NCMM, March 18.

A wooden sculpture of St Joseph with waistband and staff in the national colours was created for Kelly as a “token of appreciation” from the NCMM. Kelly was expected to be viewing the Mass online.

There was further cause for celebration as Archbishop Gordon and Vicar for Clergy Msgr Esau Joseph, and Fr Dwight Merrick all celebrated their ordination anniversaries March 19. Fr Merrick celebrated 27 years and the Archbishop and Msgr Joseph, 30 years.

—Lara Pickford-Gordon