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December 7, 2021
November Members’ Exhibition till December
December 7, 2021

Annual Candlelight Consolation Mass at St Charles

“God is a God of consolation” was the assurance given by Msgr Esau Joseph throughout his homily at the annual Candlelight Mass on the evening of November 25, at St Charles Borromeo RC Church, Tunapuna.

Families who lost loved ones gathered to be nourished together before the table of the Lord at the invitation of Msgr Joseph and the Ministry of Consolation (MOC).

Observing all health protocols, they quietly filed in, to the welcoming ambiance of the beautifully decorated church and reverently awaited the start of Mass.

Facial expressions and quiet gestures suggested that their spirits lifted to the choir’s heavenly singing of the entrance hymn ‘God gives His people strength’. The invocation followed and the choir continued to inspire worship and praise as they sang ‘The Lord is my shepherd’.

Heightening the atmosphere of praise and worship was a special presentation of ‘O Creator: A call to praise’, richly rendered by Krisson Joseph. This presentation also served as a fitting tribute to the late Peter Telfer who was deeply Catholic and a true patriot and icon of our beloved country.

Msgr Joseph extended a hearty and warm welcome to the congregation and during his homily, he implored them that they must never be ashamed to admit their need for help during the pain of their grief.

He pointed out that feelings such as guilt and anger are all normal and part of being human as we process the shock and the loss we have suffered.

Quoting St Francis of Assisi “for it is in giving that we receive”, Msgr Joseph explained that in coming together to support each other, we too are consoled. He emphasised that God gives His people faith, hope and love and we must accept the will of God and move on even stronger.

He encouraged that through prayers and consolation we would be able to process the loss and eventually move to acceptance.

Msgr Joseph referred to Mary, our Blessed Mother explaining that when she said the words “be it done unto me according to Thy will” she accepted Jesus’ birth as well as His death.

He cautioned the congregation that prolonged grief can lead to death and encouraged them to accept the support offered to them during their mourning and to seek professional help as needed.

In closing, Msgr Joseph shared a quote that defined grief from a medical perspective as “I have lost someone, it has changed something in my life and yet I refuse to change”. He then invited everyone to join him in praying the ‘Serenity Prayer’.

The order of the Mass continued and after the meditation, Msgr Joseph offered prayers of healing for the families gathered. Making his way through the aisles, he blessed everyone with holy water.

The Mass culminated with a procession with families reverently releasing their tealights into the water-filled basins accompanied by the beautiful music and singing of Philip Okafor.

The tealight procession is symbolic of releasing the light representing your loved one back to the Creator and Giver of life.

Before the final blessing, Msgr Joseph commended the choir and acknowledged the work of the MOC. Team Leader of MOC, Barbara Wafe acknowledged everyone for their role and contribution and extended a hearty welcome to Msgr Joseph as it was his first Candlelight Mass at St Charles.

The celebration ended with the singing of ‘Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord’.  —Manuelita Gomez-Thomas