Sunday, 28 March 2010

lets abandon the Basilica Minor and negate a history of the country.

So the catholic News for the Archdiocese of Port of Spain claims that it would cost about US$7 million dollars to restore the Basilica Minor Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Port of Spain. So they have come up with several options. One of them is to Build a new Cathedral.

Now there are several issues to discuss.

1. The article in the catholic news on the Website does not allow for comments. Why? Shouldn't we have a voice in the OUR Catholic Press (or the website even) Miss Editor. It is why I do not buy the Catholic News anymore. In fact I would not even have read it unless my priest advised that we (the congregation of the Cathedral)do. I don't beleive that it truly expresses the thoughts of the faithful, only that of the editor.

2. The Archbishop did not identify the timeline properly. The work to be done had been identified by a specialist refurbisher from Canada through Genivar Trinidad Ltd. The scope of works report with an unofficial ballpark figure was given in 2007 (I believe). The cost was not close to 7 million US dollars. I think it was about half that.

3. I could be mixing up the restoration comittee with the committee to raise funds for the restoration, if they are indeed two separate groups I apologise - but the restoration comittee includes non catholics. They have no interest in the Catholic Faith, Catholic Culture or what it means to be a Bascilica Minor. They do not understand that the same Pope who assembled the first Vatican Council, is the Pope who made our beloved Cathedral a Bascilica Minor. This is a great Pope in church history. Do they even know the stresses that Napoleon III caused this Pope or the Catholic Church.... causing Emmauel I of Itlay to steal the Papal States for what he hoped would be his Empire (the Roman Question).

4. Anything other than a Restoration would be a crime against our children. Are we not the custodians of that which belongs to our children. How can we throw away 150 years of History? What madman would suggest such a thing, and why? If not for their own personal ambitions. I am told that Great Leaders build to leave a legacy....

25 but he said to them, 'Among the gentiles it is the kings who lord it over them, and those who have authority over them are given the title Benefactor.
26 With you this must not happen. No; the greatest among you must behave as if he were the youngest, the leader as if he were the one who serves.
27 For who is the greater: the one at table or the one who serves? The one at table, surely? Yet here am I among you as one who serves! Luke 22:25-27

5. What is a Restoration? The original Cathedral had two chapels. Are those going to be restored. If so what would happen to the toilets and the sacristy which now occupy the (north & south) transepts. It is my understanding that these two chapels would not be restored.

6. Perhaps there really is no interest in the Catholic cathedral by the Government to help in the restoration. After all it is the Anglican Cathedral that hosts the religious opening of Parliment and the Law term.

7. I agree that there should be a synod OF THE FAITHFUL... somehow as a member of the Cathedral community I believe we the faithful would be sidelined by the clerics.

For those who don't know the histroy of the Cathedral I would be sure willing to enlighten. Otherwise check out the Article on the Catholic News website;

Saturday, 27 March 2010

One Nation under ...uhm! .... who?

I read in this weeks news that a US Federal Judge upheld the words "under God" in the Amercian Pledge of Allegience and "In God we Trust" on their money.

Some one is so mifted at God that he chose to rough-up the US and make issue with things that the US hold as sacred.... no,not money and talk... patriotism and economic freedom.

In Trinidad we have a similar issue.... don't we? There are the muslims and Hindus who take have made changes to our country's highest award. It is no longer called the Trinity Cross.... but the Order of Trinidad. It is no longer a cross, it is a... well that don't know. I am not mad with them. Local History has not been good to them. It is time that they make a claim for themselves. Good Job.

Throughout the Caribbean, however, there is an effort to delete our history... to rewrite it. Statues are torn down... Buildings are torn down... Squares are renamed.

Columbus Lie! is a favourite comment. He did not discover the new world. Well, maybe he didn't but because of his historic voyages, you and I are part of the new world... and the freedom it offered from feudal systems and a hirachy that paid little mind to the small man. I say thank you Columbus for your voyages. What a brave and adventurous man he was.

I say good for you USA. You have retained "under God" in your pledge and "In God we Trust" on your money.

Keep on Rocking in the Free World...
with Jesus.. of Course!

Thursday, 25 March 2010

The "childless family" choice of Italians.

My wife and I have four children. They are a handful, but they are a joy. While we wish that we could be doing a whole lot more as a couple, we enjoy doing things as a family. Now I know that in this world of two-point-something children, four is a bit more than usual. Children are not for everyone. So those who don't have, don't fully understand. My grandfather George had 14 children. My wifes great Grandfather Vicente has 12 children. Not uncommon for the time. Vicente moved to Trinidad with his wife around 1900. An italian family with lots of love. My mother in law in her visit to Italy not long ago mentioned how much Italians love babies. Imagine my suprise to read in lifesite news that Italians are not having babies much anymore.

According to the article 53.4 per cent of Italian families have no children. They get married, but don't have children. There was a time when having children was the next step. 21.9 per cent of households have only one child and just 19 per cent have two. 1.31 children born per woman has resulted in a largely childless and aging nation. 1.31 is less than 2... 2 is a couple. Their population is shrinking. If not for immigration there would be less and less Italians.

This is not specific to Italy, all through Europe the trend is the same.

Praise God for Families. Praise God that the faithful are procreating. Praise God for his blessings.

Monday, 22 March 2010


Ok so the headlines of the Trinidad newspaper "Newsday" are misleading. The article says that the good priest Father Rochard said...

“There have been reports but they have not been substantiated...There have always been reports.”

"Well you know it is unfair to wrongly accuse somebody or to come to a conclusion without substance. And therefore it becomes embarrassing when people have been wrongly accused. One always has to be careful about that.”

"The Church would do its own investigation and deal with its own process. In other words, there are two different processes,”

Now after reading the article I don't think the front page headline is apropriate. haters of the Church would say "look at that priest... covering things up.... typical of the catholic church."

The article also mentioned that Father Hezekiah Father argued that psychologists have determined that being celebate and being a sexual offender has no corelation. But the thing I like best about the article is that the article points out the log in other peoples eyes. OPen your eyes people. Abuse takes place everywhere and must be adressed everywhere. I am speaking of the comment made by executive director of the Caribbean Centre of Human Rights, Diana Mahabir-Wyatt,who advised that "the problem of child sexual abuse was not limited to the Catholic church alone." (I am not sure why, but the writer chose to note that She is an anglican.)

With all the talk about Unisex government schools insead of Co-ed schools, in the same newspaper I read a letter from an older teacher at a coed school who says that the principal dealing with boys "interfering" with girls is just another day in co-ed school management. while this is not child sex abuse by an adult. The point is we need to stop abuse, every kind every where.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

US Football team destroys Brazilian team

What a headline.... but no... it's not the world cup teams playing. According to the Catholic News Agency, a game was played last month between the Pontifical North American College of Rome's soccer team and a formitable brazilian team. It's all part of the Clericus Cup tournament.

according to Wikipedia: The Clericus Cup is an annual association football tournament contested by teams from the Roman Colleges, seminaries of the Catholic Church located in Rome. The tournament involves sixteen schools and fields players from 60 countries. The players are normally seminarians studying to be Roman Catholic priests. A handful of players are ordained priests. The annual tournament is organized by the Centro Sportivo Italiano (CSI). The league was founded in 2007, and it is now in its fourth season.

Officially, the goal of the league is to "reinvigorate the tradition of sport in the Christian community."

Unfortunately the official website is in italian.... and the only italian I know is my wifes grnadfather... God rest his soul.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Love Saint Joseph.... hate the fish

I do not like fish. We are not friends. Of course it is tradition that we eat fish for lent. At least on fridays... as a meat replacement. While there is no obligation to eat fish, I follow the tradition. ... Fish and all!

But praise God for Saint Joseph. Tomorrow is St Josephs Day... and acording to cannon law we may break the lenten fast. While my wife is longing for her chocolate, I am just happy not to eat fish.

Note to self... buy extra chocolate on the way home tomorrow!

Among other patronage, Saint Joseph is the Patron Saint of Families. St Joseph Pray for my family:

Saint Joseph, strengthen in our family
every bond of love which unites us --
the marriage bond,
the love of parent and child,
the bonds of mutual love between all.

Saint Joseph, protect our family
from every danger from without
and from every threat to peace, unity and harmony within.

Saint Joseph, teach us to be
kind and loving towards one another,
careful for one another,
tolerant of one another,
forgiving towards one another.

Saint Joseph, may contentment with our lot
and joy in each other
abound in our house,
as we seek faithfully to serve
and greatly to love God.

Saint Joseph, be you yourself
a father towards the family of ours,
and pray Mary
be a mother to us.


Happy Saint Josephs Day dear Friends.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Happy St Patricks Day

Happy Saint Patricks Day to all you Paddy's out there. THey say that this comes from the breastplate of Saint Patrick:

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.

Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, and in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

Me ol' granny... may she rest in peace... the irish redleg from Caribbean isle of Grenada loved this irish traditional song...

Sure, a little bit o' Heaven
Fell from out of the sky one day
And nestled on the ocean
In a spot so far away
And the angels found it,
Sure it looked so sweet and fair
They said suppose we leave it,
For it looks so peaceful there!

So they sprinkled it with star dust,
Just to make the shamrocks grow.
'Tis the only place you'll find them
No matter where you go
Then they dotted it with silver
To make its lakes so grand
And when they had it finished
Sure they called it Ireland!

and here is one of my favourite traditional Irish songs - The Altan version and the Corrs version absolutely rock.

Céad slán ag sléibhte maorga chondae Dhún na nGall

Agus dhá chéad slán ag an Earagal árd, ina stua(í) os cionn caor 's call

Nuair a ghluais mise thart le loch Dhún Lúiche, go ciúin sa ghleann ina luí

I mo dhiaidh bhí Gleanntáin Ghlas' Ghaoth Dobhair,

is beag nár bhris mo chroí

Ag taisteal domh amach tríd chnoic Ghleann Domhain, 's an Mhucais ar mo chúl

Ní miste domh 'rá le brón 's le crá, ghur fhreasach a shil mise súil

Go 'Meiriceá siar, a bhí mo thriall, i bhfad thar an fharraige mhór

D'fhag mé slán ar feadh seal ag Dún na nGall,

's ag Gleanntáin Ghlas' Ghaoth Dobhair

Níorbh é mo mhiansa imeacht ariamh ó mo thír bheag dhílis féin

Ach trom lámh Gall, le cluain 's le feall, a thiomáin mé i gcéill

B'é rún mo chroíse pilleadh arís, nuair a dhéanfainn beagán stór

'S deireadh mo shaoil a chaitheamh lem' ghaoil,

fá Ghleanntáin Ghlas' Ghaoth Dobhair

Slán, slán go fóill a Dhún na nGall, a chondae shéimh gan smál

'S do d'fheara bréa in am an ghá, nár umhlaigh riamh roimh Ghall

Tá áit i mo chroí do gach fear 's gach mnaoi, 's gach páiste beag agus mór

Atá beo go buan, gan bhuairt gan ghruaim,

fá Ghleanntáin Ghlas' Ghaoth Dobhair

and the English translation

The Green Glens of Gaoth Dobhair

Farewell to the noble mountains of Donegal

And twice farewell to tall Errigal, arching over rowen and ash tree

When I passed by Dunlewey lake, lying quietly in the glen

Behind me were the green glens of Gaoth Dobhair, and it nearly broke my heart

Travelling through Glendowan's Hills, and Muckish behind me

I don't mind saying with sorrow and grief, that tears fell from my eyes

Westward to America was my journey, far across the wide sea

I said farewell for a while to Donegal, and the green glens of Gaoth Dobhair

I never wanted to leave my own beloved land

But the foreigner's heavy handed deceit and treachery drove me away

It would be my heart's desire to return again, when I should get a little money

To spend the end of my life with my family, 'round the green glens of Gaoth Dobhair

Yet farewell, farewell to Donegal County fine and fair

And to your brave men who in time of need, did not ever cower before the foreigner

There's a place in my heart for each man and woman, each child big and small

Who live in peace, without sorrow or grief, in the green glens of Gaoth Dobhair

Saturday, 13 March 2010

the 8 minute homily

There is an interesting article from the Catholic News Agency on short homilies.

Vatican City, Mar 11, 2010 / 11:03 pm (CNA).- In a new book consisting of reflections based on the 2008 Synod on the Word of God, the secretary for the Synod of Bishops, Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, writes that homilies should not last more than eight minutes.

In his book, “The Word of God,” the archbishop elaborates on methods priests can use in preparing their Sunday homilies. His first suggestion – taken from Pope Benedict XVI himself – advises that clergy members begin preparing for their Sunday homilies nearly a week in advance.

Archbishop Eterovic explains that each week the Holy Father begins his Sunday homily preparations on the Monday before, so he “has sufficient time to understand the passages from the Sunday readings. The readings become the object of profound meditation, in light of specific events, at personal and community levels.”

“Improvisations must be avoided,” the archbishop continues, “since the homily is too serious of a reality to be delivered to the faithful without adequate planning.”

The preparation for Sunday homilies, Archbishop Eterovic suggests, “can also take on the form of Lectio Divina.” He adds that priests who use this method usually “see generally positive results.”

The archbishop then notes five steps for improving homilies: “Determine the main theme of the homily, inspire interest in the faithful," and "do everything possible to transmit one’s own convictions by appealing to their hearts and intellects.

He also advises priests to help the faithful to memorize the theme of the homily … and prompt an active response in the faithful by suggesting concrete actions such as prayer, readings, activities in family, in the parish, at work or in society.”

It is “useful to remember that in general the homily should not be longer than eight minutes, the average time listeners can concentrate,” the archbishop says. “The preacher can write the homily, but at the time of delivery he should use an outline, a special guide that will allow him to follow a logical line of thought while looking at the faithful.”

Archbishop Eterovic also explains that in order to keep up-to-date, the preacher should use the Bible and a newspaper in preparing homilies.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

You cannot choose who your religious teachers are going to be... so there!

The news out of Costa Rica is totally crazy. The catholic Church has lost it's right to choose who will teach Catholic children about their Catholic faith. "Intrusion " says the state, "Loss of jobs" says the state. Hey, of course I don't want a man who lives a loose lifestyle to teach my children their faith. What kind of example is that?

Being Catholic is not a subject choice. The teacher does not just have to be technically proficient. He or she has to be someone who lives the faith.

If that were to happen in Trinidad, I would be on the streets protesting. I wonder what our neighbours in the Caribbean sea, Costa Rica are doing about it?

Rise People Rise. It's the new Catholic thing. It's what we do now. Rise!

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Open letter to God

Man! You rock. Thanks for everything you have done for me. Thanks for everything thatyou have done for man. Thnaks for the lessons and the good things. Thanks for the challenges and the joys. Thank you for loving me.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

the Married Priest ??!!

This imterview appeared on Zenit:

Interview With Theologian on the Foundations of Celibacy
By Carmen Elena Villa

ROME, MARCH 9, 2010 ( Married priests are an exception and the Church is increasingly convinced that they must remain so, according to a spiritual theology professor at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross.

Father Laurent Touze explained the foundations of priestly celibacy when he spoke at a two-day conference held last week at Rome's Pontifical University of the Holy Cross. The conference, "Priestly Celibacy: Theology and Life," was sponsored by the Congregation for the Clergy as an event for the Year for Priests.

ZENIT spoke with Father Touze about the exceptions to priestly celibacy and the future of celibacy for the Church.

ZENIT: Is celibacy a dogma of faith or a discipline?

Father Touze: Neither one nor the other. It isn't a dogma of faith because we see married priests in the Church today such as, for example, some [priests] of the Eastern Catholic Church. Not all but some admit married priests. Or as has been reminded recently in the Holy Father's motu propio "Anglicanorum coetibus," published last Nov. 4: Among the ex-Anglicans who want to return to communion with the Catholic Church, there will be married priests admitted.

ZENIT: With this measure, do you think that one day, celibacy might become voluntary also for priests of the Latin rite?

Father Touze: No, because the Church is understanding more and more the relation between priesthood, episcopate and celibacy. It is something that could be likened to the revelation of a dogma, though it isn't so at this time; one tends increasingly to understand that a practice must be promoted among all priests and also among Eastern Catholic priests which is truly similar to the one lived in the first centuries.

ZENIT: But in the first centuries there were many married priests, including the Apostles?

Father Touze: Studies have convincingly shown that this must be questioned: Celibacy of all clerics wasn't lived, but from the moment of inclusion in the priestly order these men had to live continence with the permission of their wives, because this was a commitment of the couple.

ZENIT: Why, then, are exceptions made?

Father Touze: Historically because there has been a manipulation of texts and I believe a bad translation that the Eastern Church, which has separated from Rome and has recognized that what they had declared contrary to tradition, could be accepted. In this connection there truly are some exceptions. The Church discovered that she had the possibility of admitting exceptions but that these should be understood as such. Respectably, as the Second Vatican Council stressed, there are very holy married priests in the Eastern Catholic Churches who have contributed much to the history of the Church and to the faith in times of persecution, but they are truly exceptions and must be understood as such.

ZENIT: However, these exceptions are not made with bishops. Does episcopal celibacy have a special meaning?

Father Touze: Undoubtedly. It is very different, both theologically as well as historically. What's more, with the constitution "Lumen Gentium," Vatican II defined that the episcopate is the fullness of the sacrament of Holy Orders. It is necessary to discover the specificity of the episcopate and, hence, episcopal celibacy. And it can be demonstrated with the fact that for the celibacy or continence of a bishop an exception has never been made.

This is something studied by the Church on which the Roman pontificate has had to reflect more recently in contemporary history on two occasions: after the French Revolution, where some bishops, or better, former bishops, asked to marry.

This has been studied and it has been said that it is impossible, that this had never been done, that at stake was the dogmatic issue. Or still recently with the ordination of married men and married bishops that were effected in former Czechoslovakia by imposition or with the pressure of the Communist Party in power. There also the Church affirmed on the fact that the bishop must always be celibate or if he had married before his ordination because he would have to live continence from the moment of his episcopal ordination.

[Translation by ZENIT]

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Talking to God!

I always feel uncomfortable just before the distribution of Communion at Mass. There I am kneeling, thanking God for the Oportunity to recieve His body, and suddenly I discover that I am repeating myself. I have said what I had to say. I meant it. Now I am just being repetitive. I mean, God knows the thoughts of my mind. He has heard me. Why do I have to rant and go on.

It is not that God doesn't answer my prayers. He does. And I pray the same way each time. I'm not saying that I have the full and final solution in prayers. I am just saying that I feel uncomfortable repeating myself.

Father, you know the thoughts in my mind. Hear my prayer and bless me. All praise and Glory and Honour to you forever and ever Amen.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Who is Sylvester of Assisi?

Sylvester of Assisi, as you may have guessed was a follower or St Francis of Assisi. He was also the father of St Clare. Today (Saturday)is his feast day. Great and wonderous things happen in small ways with saints, but God's love is always manifested through these great people.

There is a story on that shows God working through Sylvester:

Once in a city where civil war was raging, Sylvester was commanded by Francis to drive the devils out. At the city gate Sylvester cried out: "In the name of almighty God and by virtue of the command of his servant Francis, depart from here, all you evil spirits." The devils departed and peace returned to the city.

Praise God for such men who inspire us to want to be better.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Faith in Public Office

One of my favourite news sites "Lifesite" published an article about Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput speaking about John F Kennedy's speech about faith. This is a speech that Kennedy made about 50 years ago. He was speaking to a group of Protestant Ministers. He said that he would not let his Catholic faith would not affect public policy decisions.

Archbishop Chaput says that Kennedy was wrong to make such a statement. “Real Christian faith is always personal, but it’s never private,” Said the Archbishop. To be a man of Public office and to be a Catholic is one and the same. You cannot be a Catholic, have Catholic views, and do things that are not Catholic just to please the masses. We please God first.. then man.

I found this article interesting in the light of the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago and the church building scandal. The Prime Minister has tried on many occassions to keep his faith private. He has been exposed in the most awful of ways. First with Benny Hinn, who called his spiritual advisor a charlatan and now with the church scandal, where the same spiritual advisor seems to have gotten land (and Money) and govenment connections to get labour to build this church.

I feel sorry for the Prime Minister. How does one who is the leader of a country and a world personality seek to serve God? Surely this should be his first priority. Perhaps he should take some of his own money and seek out the Pope. Then he may not feel bad that the man of God who he sits with is indeed more powerful, known, respected and loved than this man from a small caribbean country.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Ira Mathur & God who IS Trinidadian

Wow! Some people can be so touchy. I returned to the blog world today to see a message from someone who took offence at my "God is a Trinidadian" post of February 25th. Since very few people read the comments of past posts I thought I would give the writer credit by posting his/her concern. Here it is:

I think Ira Mathur has been vindicated by the earthquake in Chile. Do you STILL think she is an alarmist? Why is it that we Catholics who claim to be people of God become so unaccepting of people who were not born here? And why should you assume that this reporter doesnt believe in God or doesnt come from Gods land? We need to be more charitable in our thoughts and words.

Dear anonymous writer,

I first wish to apologise for offending you. I get the impression that you think that I am attacking or insulting Ira Mathur. I am not, that is, unless you think that challenging her opinion is to insult or attack. It was also never my intention put down the fact that she was not born here. In fact I welcomed her to Trinidad. Perhaps you know many xenophobic people. I am not one.

It would seem that in your passion to defend a point, you completely misunderstood what was written. Let me say it again, and perhaps you could refer to the February 25th post for verification: God is a Trinidadian. He is also American or Indian, or Chinese.

I am very familiar with Ira's writings. At one time she was my favourite local writer (Sorry Basil). As I mentioned on the 25th of February, I think she is entitled to her opinion. You are entitled to have an opinion too. Having said that, I think that I am entitled to mine... and I still think she is an alarmist. Chile has always had huge earthquakes. That does not vindicate Ira.

There is a site that I often check that shows earthquakes from all over the world. At the time of this posting there were 25 earthquakes on the 4th of April (today).Check it out if you are adventurous:

However, stand firm, because Jesus loves you and does not want you to be afraid... and yuh done know! He is a Trini!