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Papal Nuncio to Pres students – become ‘bridge builders’

His Excellency Archbishop Fortunatus Nwachukwu, Apostolic Nuncio visited Presentation College, San Fernando on Tuesday, February 1 on the invitation of Principal Dexter Mitchell. The Nuncio was accompanied by the Nunciature’s Attaché, Fr Luciano Labanca and three Guadelupan Sisters attached to the Vatican Embassy.

The Apostolic Nuncio celebrated Holy Mass at the college and was afforded all the protocols as the ambassador of the Holy Father, Pope Francis to the Caribbean. The Mass started with the procession and installation of the papal flag and the Trinidad and Tobago National Flag followed by the playing of the Vatican National Anthem and the singing of the National Anthem of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

His Excellency preached on the theme A call to serve and reminded the students that they were born with a mission, that God has given them many possibilities and when they make choices, they get responses. “If you make the right choice, you will get the right response and life is about the decisions we made.”

Archbishop Nwachukwu spoke about his childhood days in Nigeria and his experience during the 1967–1970 war when Nigeria was consumed by the violence which took the lives of many of his contemporaries. He preached that he could have grown to become negative to everybody but decided that “war will not define my life”.

He told the students that he worked hard in his studies and passed all his exams in one sitting despite the hardships that he was experiencing. Reminding the students that “a lot depends on you”, he reminisced about his childhood days and how he lost two sisters, one to dysentery and the other to tetanus. Due to this loss, he wanted to be a doctor because it pained him to see his sisters die.

He spoke about his call to be a priest and reminded the young men not to be afraid of God’s call. “Do not be passive. Be active. The Lord will accompany you.”

He told the students about his own journey into becoming a priest, a lawyer, and a doctor in Canon Law. “I want to serve and want to help humanity and rest assured that God will grant you what you are working for.”

He also alluded to the many organisations he founded to assist persons including indigent children, priests, and one for persons to talk about ethnic discrimination. “You can create avenues in your school and family to discuss discrimination and prejudice….Avoid negative crowds; align with the positive crowd” referencing the gospel story of Jairus and his daughter.

He encouraged the young men to have faith to bring people to God and bring God to people, and to become bridge builders.

The Nuncio indicated that he will be leaving soon to serve as Vatican Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Mass was attended by representative students of all form levels and was streamed live to those at home and the wider community.

—Presentation College, San Fernando