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By Rosemarie Sant, CN contributor

Catholics are being called upon to take a more proactive role in the mission of the Church, with Fr Trevor Nathasingh emphasising that the responsibility of building God’s Church lies with every individual, not solely the clergy.

Fr Nathasingh, the parish priest of St Paul’s RC Church, Couva, recently led a four-night retreat themed A Pure Heart Create for Me, Oh God, held at La Divina Pastora RC Church in Siparia. The Lenten retreat started on Tuesday, March 12, and concluded with Holy Mass on Friday 15.

Highlighting a common misconception among Catholics that attending Mass alone fulfils their spiritual obligations, Fr Nathasingh urged congregants to acknowledge the necessity for collective action, in witnessing, evangelising, and making Jesus Christ known.

“The work of building up God’s Church is not the sole responsibility of priests. It is incumbent upon all of us, yet many Catholics fail to grasp this concept. Some still believe attending weekend Mass is sufficient, but it is not,” Fr Nathasingh declared.

Underscoring the diminishing numbers of clergy and religious, he observed we are “no longer living in a religious environment. We are living in a new pagan environment.”

Expressing concern over Catholics seeking solace outside the Church, Fr Nathasingh pointed to the urgency for deeper engagement with faith to prevent further decline. He highlighted the plight of several parishes without resident priests, urging communities to support their clergy, such as Fr Santosh of La Divina Pastora RC.

Drawing inspiration from St Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, Fr Nathasingh reminded congregants of their divine essence as God’s “work of art,” emphasising the importance of mutual compassion and respect to each other.

He decried the divisive impact of sin, which he asserted alienates individuals from God and impedes spiritual growth.

“The more we sin, the further away from God we move. Sin makes you believe you no longer need God; it pushes you further and further away. Sin prevents your voice from reaching the heart of God,” he warned.

Fr Nathasingh underscored the transformative power of God’s grace, urging the congregation to use the Lenten season for spiritual renewal. “Lent is a time to examine our souls. We must reflect on our relationship with God and prepare ourselves for the journey home,” he urged.

Encouraging Catholics to embody mercy and kindness in their daily interactions, Fr Nathasingh emphasised the reciprocal nature of divine favour. He urged parents to never abandon hope for their children. “They might be doing some terrible things, but you keep fasting and praying for the conversion of your children, and God will give you a breakthrough.”

Highlighting the centrality of salvation through Jesus Christ, Fr Nathasingh urged congregants to manifest their faith through actions rooted in love and compassion.