By Gregory Quan Kep, Freeport
Who would have thought that Jesus Explosion XX (July 15–17) would have been so well attended? The pandemic is still with us, and many have grown accustomed to online spiritual enrichment. Many still have a fear of crowds and an aversion to physical meetings.
On the first day of this 20th edition of Jesus Explosion, it had been forecast that a weather system was approaching, and a yellow alert was issued. That would have caused some discouragement. The rains did come and there was some flooding.
There was even an earthquake which shook the northern parts of Trinidad.
But despite these, attendance was overwhelming and exceeded expectations with groups from across Trinidad, and even a contingent from Tobago. The people were hungering for spiritual nourishment, and they were not disappointed.
The theme – from Acts 1: 8 “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and then you will be my witnesses in Judea and Samaria and indeed onto the ends of the Earth” – was extensively expounded by the anointed speakers.
The first talk was by our feature speaker Kent Vincent, Head of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in Guyana, and CEO of Food for the Poor Guyana Incorporated. This non-profit charitable organisation manages projects such as Angels of Hope which provide for the needs of children in two orphanages in Guyana, General Housing which provides safe, affordable housing and basic services and School Feeding, which provides meals for 500 school children daily.
Kent gave his testimony of conversion in a Life in the Spirit Seminar and the empowerment he received to be a powerful witness to the Gospel. He also gave a talk on Repentance and did a workshop on Spiritual Warfare.
His wife Gail also gave testimony and sang with a powerful, melodious voice.
Fr Raymond Francis was the main celebrant and homilist at the opening Mass on Saturday morning. His homily described the challenges of the lockdown and the importance of listening to the Spirit speaking through others. Fr Francis conducted a healing ministry right after Mass which set the tone for the day.
Archbishop Jason Gordon gave the opening address. It was his first time at Jesus Explosion as he would usually go on vacation during the month of July.
He directed a few questions to the audience: Who is the Holy Spirit? Why do we need the Holy Spirit? After gleaning a few responses, he began to explain the power of the Holy Spirit is needed to become a disciple of Jesus. A disciple of Jesus witnesses wherever he goes. This is different to a ‘pew warmer’ which many have become.
The Archbishop said he was happy to see so many in attendance and stayed for the next talk by Fr Godfrey Stoute, and fellowship during the break.
Fr Stoute took to the podium and started with worship. He underlined the importance of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer but also the shepherds, the priests. Fr Stoute related his conversion came by the witness of a Pentecostal woman – never underestimate the power of a true witness.
Next, Keith Patrick, a Jesus Explosion leader spoke with boldness of the impact the empowerment had on his life. He spoke about when he was unfairly terminated from his job and how God turned it around; our God of the impossible came to his aid. The crowd connected with this testimony as many had lost their jobs due to the pandemic.
The talk on the Eucharist was delivered by Fr Ian Taylor. He delivered a short exhortation, then gave a testimony of the powerful encounter that a young woman experienced that brought her back to the faith. That young woman would start a prayer group in Port of Spain that attracted hundreds.
The conversion and transformation of a young man after encountering Jesus through the Blessed Sacrament was also shared by a committee leader.
Saturday ended with the ministry of the Blessed Sacrament. The monstrance was carried through the audience by Fr Ian and Fr John Theodore CSSp. The impact was profound and real.
On Sunday were the workshops and closing Mass. Before Mass, Jameke Brown gave a report on the missionary trip to Hosororo, Guyana led by Fr Ian. There was a video presentation followed by testimonies of those who went.
The rigours of the missionary life were outlined, and the peculiar challenges of the rural territory – dealing with ocelots, frogs, bats, large insects, mud roads, walking and no WiFi – brought laughter to the congregation.
The mission also needs funding and appeals were made for contributions. Participants gave generously. Fr Ian said he was returning to Guyana’s interior on Friday, July 22 to conduct a Life in the Spirit Seminar. Participants were thrilled to learn of this and committed to pray for its success. Many expressed interest in participating in future missions.
The closing Mass was celebrated by Fr Luciano Labanca, Apostolic Nunciature Attaché. He preached on the gospel describing the roles of Mary and Martha. Special mention must also be made of GRACE Ministries. The theme song that was featured throughout the weekend was ‘Turn It Around’ by Paul Enenche. It was fitting as an overcoming song to those who needed hope.
We thank all who contributed, laboured, or spiritually supported Jesus Explosion XX, which can be viewed on Trinity TV as well as the official YouTube page and Facebook page – ‘Jesus Explosion Trinidad and Tobago’.
The Jesus Explosion Revival is carded for December 11.