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Fifth annual St Francis Canticle Award Ceremony

By Dominique Heffes-Doon

The Franciscan Institute, and the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother congratulated the winners of the Season of Creation schools and parish competition at the 5th annual St Francis Canticle Creation Award Ceremony on Saturday, October 29.

The ceremony celebrated all regional participants who took part in the annual Season of Creation (SOC) Challenge 2022. Participants were mostly from Catholic primary and secondary schools, youth groups and parishes in the islands of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, St Lucia, Trinidad & Tobago. The participating students and youths were awarded for their environmental entries in the different categories: Song, Art, Skit and Eco Project. In keeping with the international Season of Creation 2022 theme: ‘Listen to the Voice of Creation’ (The Burning Bush Ex 3:1–12).

Attendees from all over the region were welcomed by Archbishop Gabriel Malzaire of Castries, St Lucia who spoke to Pope Francis’ open letter to humanity and encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si. Archbishop Malzaire highlighted the very real conditions those in the Caribbean region face with regards to climate change. On a recent trip to Trinidad and

Tobago, he, like many within our twin island nation, experienced and was shocked by the extreme flash flooding that has become a recurring challenge in our recent history.

Flash flooding severely impacts our daily life. We have seen school closures, disruptions in business activity and many of us have sat in traffic waiting, albeit impatiently, for excess water to drain away so we can continue on with our day. The question remains, much of our flash flooding is a result of clogged drains due to littering. Therefore, can each of us do our part to ensure that we make better decisions for the Earth which we are called to love “like a sister created alongside us and mother who nurtures us”?

Bishop Clyde Harvey of St George’s-in-Grenada, in a Zoom presentation, quoted the Holy Father saying, “reality is greater than ideas… stronger more effective. When you make what is in your head a reality that you can touch and feel and hear, activating your senses, then that has greater power than the ideas in your head.” Bishop Harvey went on to congratulate the many creations inspired by the 2022 Season of Creation Challenge, which have become realities to raise awareness on the climate challenge that we each face. Bishop Harvey also spoke to taking personal responsibility for the Earth and making better choices by minimising the use of single use plastic bottles.

The morning was concluded by Archbishop Jason Gordon who spoke to the need to heed the consciousness of this generation around their care for the Earth. He said, “We made a mess of it in our generation. Growing up we didn’t think about it at all.” Archbishop Gordon went on to note that the current generation has the opportunity to reverse climate change entirely and really think about our true connection with Mother Earth.