By Jerry Alleyne-Nagee, Parishioner
The Trinidad and Tobago community at Christ the King Catholic Church in Southwest Miami, as we had done annually for 31 consecutive years up to 2019, commemorated the Independence of our nation and its status as a Republic with an anniversary thanksgiving Mass on Sunday, September 18, and a healing Mass on Monday 19.
The celebration this year marked T&T’s 60 years as an independent nation, 46 years as a Republic, and the T&T community’s 33 years of ministry at Christ the King.
After a two-year hiatus caused by the Covid pandemic, expectations were high among our parishioners, the T&T and the wider Caribbean community of South Florida, the new Consul General of Trinidad and Tobago in Miami, Joanne Brooks, and our new pastor Fr Joseph Jean Louis.
Miracles, mercy, and goodness are what the T&T community experienced as we put things in place. As the old people say, “When a door closes, a window twice as wide opens up.” The threat of rain remained only a threat and brilliant skies opened up for us on both days.
The Mass was dedicated to the memory of all those whom we lost during the pandemic both from Covid and other causes. We remembered especially one of our foundation members, Carl Blackman who passed away three months ago, and Miya Marcano, 19, a victim of homicide one year ago. In fact, our programme listed 73 parishioners and friends of the community who passed over the last two years.
Because of the pandemic, we were unable to raise funds to invite a priest and music ministers from Trinidad and Tobago as is customary. Nothing daunted us as our God had taken the reins.
The music minister who was to have officiated had hurriedly relocated and that void was almost instantly filled. Martin Millien, in Miami on quite a different mission, became our choir master and like our forever music minister Kay Pierre, he whipped into shape the choir which was miraculously supplemented by dedicated friends.
We were also blessed with the gracious acceptance of Trinbagonian Fr Ako Trevor Walker CSsR, pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus and St Patrick’s Church in Baltimore, Maryland to be our celebrant.
The young, dynamic, charismatic Fr Ako illuminated hearts and minds with his homily which stressed the need for right relationships with one another if we were to live the message of the gospel and be in the right relationship with God. In a world torn by war, strife, political upheaval, violence and the lingering after-effects of the pandemic manifested in anxiety, pain and tremendous loss of family, jobs and meaningful interaction, the absolute need to see God in the face of others was Fr Ako’s exhortation.
During the Healing Mass, Fr Ako took us through the areas of pain, hurt, frustration, anxiety and worry. We were invited to give them up to the Lord who is able to replace, repair, restore, reconstruct, revitalise, and sustain us. Punctuated effectively by relevant praise and worship songs, Fr Ako instructed us to open our hands. It was a gesture of humility, of request, surrender and submission.
Fr Ako emphasised God’s supreme power to heal. The reflection and introspection he led, anchored us and channelled our minds and hearts to our God who loves us unconditionally and who expects us to place our burden at His feet.
With our full faith and confidence in God’s love for us and our guarantee of the intercession of the blessed Mother, we give thanks and praise to God for all He has done. To God be the glory.