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Church of the Nativity celebrates 50 years of sacred ministry

The Church of the Nativity, the only Catholic church in the country named after the birth of Jesus Christ, is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

The name of the church tells what it is called to be in T&T, Archbishop Jason Gordon said as he celebrated Mass at the Crystal Stream, Diego Martin church last Sunday. The anniversary date for the Church of the Nativity is on May 27, 2021 but due to Covid-19, the commemoration was postponed.

“In the Nativity, it is God is with us—Emmanuel, and if in the Nativity we know that God is with us, then we understand the very life of the church surrounding the birth, life, death and Resurrection and Ascension is a sacred mystery,” Archbishop Gordon said.

The faithful experience all the ways in which God’s tremendous love speaks to them and He gave “everything that we need to be His people…so that we can worship Him”.

May 29 was coincidentally Ascension Sunday and Archbishop Gordon stated that the Nativity was the beginning and Ascension was the end of Jesus’ earthly life. “What we celebrate is the full span of His earthly life and earthly ministry; they act like bookends.”

He extolled the parish’s 50 years of “sacred ministry”, bringing people to baptism so they become children of God and leading people in worship of “the one true living God”.  He commended, “50 years of calling forth people to live, to love and to be what God is calling them to be”.

Archbishop Gordon shared a personal anecdote, recalling as a teen he lived in the parish for a few years at Sampson Drive and “found” his vocation. “By living in the parish, I heard the call to religious life and ultimately to priesthood. It was a wonderful time and a struggle, but it was nurturing through the parish and through life of the parish that I was able to hear my call.”

The Church of the Nativity has 50 years calling forth people to live their vocation, priests, and deacons as well. He referred to the permanent deacons in attendance—Michael Smith, Peter Timothy, and Derek Walcott, who are from the parish.

Archbishop Gordon said the signs of a mature church are families becoming holy families with courage and strength to live their vocation as families “and become a community of life and love”. The Archbishop asked, “isn’t that what Nativity is about? Isn’t that the mystery of the Nativity?”

The joyful mood of the liturgy was enhanced with dancers preceding the entrance procession and offertory comprising a basket of some items from food donations collected for the Society of St Vincent de Paul. The entrance song segued into ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’.

Prior to the liturgy a slide presentation showed past and present clergy of the parish and scenes from the parish life. Opening remarks with history of the church were given by Candace Clarke-Salloum and parish priest Fr Christopher Lumsden delivered closing thanks.

He ended saying, “keep love and commitment to God going”. Deceased parishioners were recalled with a “wall of remembrance”. The Valley Harps Steel Orchestra were set up outside the church to provide entertainment. —LPG