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Let’s dream, T&T…

Q: Archbishop J, what is your dream for T&T at 60?


For Integral Human Development

Beloved T&T, I dream that over the next 60 years we become a nation that would be sensitive to the poorest and the most neglected. This sensitivity is both in recognising their plight and in moving towards integral development of all our marginalised people, especially those in our urban and rural depressed community, so every house will have a toilet and running water.

I dream of a T&T where the courts will be overhauled, and the longest trial will take two years from the date of the offence; where restorative justice is the objective, so we will not see prisoners staying in jail indefinitely, where a fixed term for life imprisonment is established, allowing for the prisoner’s situation to be reviewed at that point, and freed if he or she has shown remorse and grown into a better citizen.

I dream of a T&T where migrant children will go to school with T&T children and where they will learn each other’s culture, language and food; where the migrant will be treated with dignity and the refugee will be given protection and assimilated into our society; where we determine how many migrants we can accommodate, and work with CARICOM to assist in taking the rest; where our children will be bilingual and prepare us for the next stage in our pivot to the east; and where all our children are protected and nurtured with love and grow to become the best they can become.

For a Culture Promoting Beauty and Integral Humanity

I dream of a T&T where we take our culture seriously and do not sell out to big money; where out artists continually wake up the nation and its leaders with positive, fearless and insightful art that inspires all our citizens; where the culture consistently promotes the best of who we are, inspiring us always to greatness and to transcending the trauma of our past through catharsis and artistic excellence; where our people shun every attempt to drag us down to the “lowest common multiple”, and rather praise and reward every attempt to move us to the “highest common factor”.

I dream of a T&T where the artist, like a shaman, will be dedicated to his or her art form and speak to the soul of the nation, inspiring us to be our best; where the fusion of our cultures that has been our brilliance will be taken to new levels that allow our light to shine and inspire the young to become the best they can become; where people will see T&T as a people of excellence committed to defending the culture against all the attacks of corruption and easy money and cheap artistry that inflame the senses but do not inspire the soul.

For Integral Ecology

I dream of a T&T where we do not litter, slash and burn the hills and dump waste in our rivers and canals, but rather take care of our sea, rivers, forests, and land; where we protect the natural wildlife, and each citizen is a friend of creation; and where every family grows a food garden so we can barter and exchange what we have with our neighbours.

I dream of a T&T where we have a plan for sustainable development of the nation that includes the delicate balance with creation, our common home; where we promote eco-tourism, and every citizen knows our history and the rich diversity of our forest, rivers and seas; where each citizen works to reuse, reduce and recycle to ensure we have the smallest carbon footprint possible.

For Holiness through Inculturation and Missionary Discipleship

I dream that Christian communities in T&T will work together for the transformation of our beloved nation, holding hands with all our people for the sake of national development; that we act as true disciples of Jesus Christ speaking the Word without fear or favour, witnessing to truth, integrity, and love, at home and in the workplace and public office. I dream that each Christian will do what is right because it is right, regardless of the consequences or who may or may not see or be upset; that each one will be worthy of the name and live her or his life under the lordship of Jesus Christ and the action of the Holy Spirit. I long for every Catholic to consciously discern their vocation, so we become a community conscious of and living our vocations.

I dream of a Church where we will be universally Catholic in our creed and Trinbagonian in our worship, lifestyle, and culture; where we will contribute to the rich heritage of Catholicism universal, through deeply living out the unique experience of God as it is mediated through our history, ancestral cultures, and peoples; a Church where each cultural variety will feel completely at home and able to share their uniqueness with all others, and where our joy is infectious and our witness irresistible.

I dream of a Church where each household is a domestic Church and where the faith is caught from parents and grandparents and the community; where the parish is a family of families that prays, plays, and celebrates life, and where every Catholic is devoted to the teaching of the apostles, the fellowship, the breaking of the bread and the prayer (Acts 2:42).

I dream of a Church where young and old are missionary disciples in pursuit of holiness of life. Where synodality is a habit of the heart for all members—walking together, discerning God’s will, in things little and big; where all are included as we journey together.

I dream of a Church where all our priests have the capacity to form missionary disciples and are friends and defenders of the poor and marginalised, where each priest is a mystagogue, initiating each Catholic into the sacred mysteries so we all live full, active, and conscious participation in liturgy and life.

Key message: We all should have a dream for T&T and then work for it.

Action Step: Ponder the dream and see areas where you need to grow if we are to fulfil the dream.

Scripture Reading: Proverbs 29:17–18

In February 2020, Pope Francis issued his Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Querida Amazonia (Beloved Amazonia), where he outlines four dreams for the Amazon region. The Holy Father has inspired my dream.