To the accompaniment of the choir at St Joseph RC Church, Scarborough, Tobago, the procession of altar servers, priests and Bishop John Persaud of Mandeville, Jamaica proceeded towards the altar.
This heralded the start of the 16th annual convention of the Antilles Canon Law Society (ACLS). This event, held in a different territory each year always begins with the celebration of Mass. The member countries span Caribbean territories from Suriname to Belize, all Anglophone except Suriname, Aruba and Curacao, the Dutch-speaking territories.
After the Mass, where the 26 delegates were welcomed by Bishop Persaud, followed by greetings from the Canadian Canon Law Society, the party journeyed to the Kariwak Village Hotel at Crown Point, where from Monday, May 9 to Thursday 12 they enjoyed the accommodation and presentations of the lecturers invited from the Canadian Canon Law Society.
After the dinner and socialising on Monday night, Tuesday morning began with Mass followed by the first lecture, ‘The New Penal Law of the Catholic Church: Major Changes’.
This very informative presentation was given by canonist Prof Dr Valère Nkouaya Mbanji SJ, who, like the other lecturers for the week, teaches at St Paul University, Ottawa, Canada. This was followed, after lunch by a workshop and question-and-answer session.
The lecture on Wednesday morning, just as informative and fully interesting, was entitled: ‘The Right of the Faithful to the Spiritual Goods of the Church: Challenges in Light of Public Health Restrictions’.
As the title suggests, this dealt with how we can live our faith during this period of pandemic and future pandemics. The lecturer was Prof Dr Chad Glendinning. This presentation too, was followed by a workshop and question-and-answer session.
The afternoon saw the delegates absorbed in the presentation given by Prof Dr Michael Nobel, ‘Spiritual Direction in the Context of Marriage Nullity Procedure’. This was followed by a short break that prepared participants for the change of topic by the same presenter.
This presentation related directly to the work at the Tribunals, as the title suggests: ‘Notaries and Administrators of Local Tribunals’. This was a great help to delegates who work at the tribunals informing all whether or not their procedures are according to Canon Law.
Thursday morning was the time for the Annual General Meeting of the Society, and this preceded the closing Mass, celebrated by Jamaican delegate Fr Roger Graham.
After a well-deserved lunch, all who took part in these captivating lectures donned their sea-bathing apparel and made sure to enjoy their outing to the famous Tobago Nylon Pool and No Man’s Land: a fitting way to enjoy a week of engrossing activities. —ACLS