Story and photos by Lara Pickford-Gordon
You may not expect to find the Catholic News in a bar, but since October 2019, it has been available in the Universal Bar, Western Main Road, St James.
The bar normally has daily newspapers for its daytime customers to catch up on some news while enjoying their drinks.
Vicar for Communications Fr Robert Christo, always alert for new places for the paper to be accessed, approached Dennis Rosales, the proprietor of Universal about a Catholic News presence.
Since getting agreement, he has been taking past and latest editions to the bar and Rosales is supportive of the effort stating on February 24, “we have to push it…it is in our interest to give that knowledge. I am glad to spread the Word and give it.”
As a bar, the business has faced challenges during the pandemic. It reopened last November as a safe zone and since then there were ups and downs.
Rosales said, “My clientele, a lot of them are unvaccinated, so I haven’t seen faces that I am accustomed seeing two years ago and that affects me a lot.” He hoped for things to get better “than how it was”.
On March 2, Fr Christo distributed the March 6 Catholic News special Lent Companion edition to passersby downtown. He started in the parking lot of the Cathedral and moved along to the Brian Lara Promenade then to Charlotte Street.
During the encounters, he drew attention to the Lenten reflection and Stations of the Cross pull-out and encouraged persons to read the paper.
Fr Christo explained that the mission of the Church via the Catholic News is to spread the Good News. “Going to parishes and Catholics is not the only scope, we also have to get to the periphery and pavements…engage the culture.”
He added, “one way for church doing this is getting the paper into the hands of those who will not usually see it.”
Camsel’s General Manager Kathryn Tardieu said, “Just like our faith doesn’t remain in the pews, we don’t want the Catholic News to remain in the pews either. Our desire is that readers experience the paper as a companion on their faith journey, and as a community whose desire is to be part of the building of God’s Kingdom wherever they are, every day, not just in church on Sundays.”