Monday, 27 June 2011

Caribbean Catholics Join the Conversation

The following article appeared in the Catholic News for the Archdiocese of Port of spain for the weekend of June 26th 2011. It is self explanatory. A great idea, and a wonderful use of technology. Kudos people.

As our Church celebrates the feast of Corpus Christi, the Archdiocese launches a nationwide conversation to define Catholic culture and identity and strengthen bonds among units within the Church.

This initiative is a result of one of the resolutions of the third sitting of the Archdiocesan Synod held at the Centre of Excellence, Macoya, January 2009. Synod 2009 proclaimed a Mission of the Church with three Pastoral Priorities. The Mission, to build the Civilisation of Love, is the reason for the Church's existence. The first Pastoral Priority of The New Evangelisation was embedded at every level of the Archdiocese, the Archdiocese as a whole reflected upon the theme Catholic Family Become What You Are. The second Pastoral Priority – Catholic Culture and Identity: My Church, My Parish, My Family – came into focus June 1.

In the first part of this second Pastoral Priority the process focusses on the experience of Catholics: How do we see ourselves? What forms our identity as Catholics? What is specific to Catholic culture?

The conversation will be carried out among families, all parishes, all groups in the Church and will also further engage groups along lines of age to generate specific information from each group.

The results of the conversation will serve as a guide to a full survey among Catholics who attend Mass and are active in the Church and also those who do not attend Mass. The Synod Implementation Team (SIT) has suggested five questions to form the basis of the conversation and has also issued guidelines for recording the information. SIT expressed the hope that Corpus Christi - this special feast in the Church calendar will motivate Catholics to engage in discussion for revitalising Catholic Culture and identity.

The questions

The five suggested questions to assist in this Conversation are:

What things or practices do you most associate with being Catholic?

What beliefs do you most associate with being Catholic?

What real life behaviours should we most associate with being Catholic? How does this differ from reality?

How do your practices, beliefs differ from those of other age groups?

What in your list is specific to Catholics in Trinidad and Tobago?

The recommended age groups are 65 and over, 46 to 64, 31 to 45 and those under 30 years.

The conversation is to be held in families, regular Church groups such as choir, Legion of Mary, catechetics, in offices or wherever groups of Catholics meet.

SIT has also suggested a procedure for conducting the conversation to ensure effective feedback

There should be a scribe who takes notes of the various things that will emerge

Make sure the notes identifies the answers with the specific question

At the end of question (2) look at the age composition of the group. If there is a mix as in a family, ministry or office let each age group say how they see the similarities and differences of the other groups.

The scribe should clearly state te age group tat is giving the opinion and also the group about whom it is speaking. If it is all the same age group (as in a parish conversation after mass) then speculate on the difference and similarities of the other three age groups as you see it.

SIT is asking every parish and worshipping community to invite people to stay back for 20 minutes after Mass on one weekend, break them up into groups of eight for the conduct and recording of the conversation If it is logistically possible, groups should be of the same age group, but if this is difficult, they should remain intergenerational.

The Implementation Team is asking for the notes accompanied by parish information and data on the number of participants to be sent by August 2, 2011, by email to:

Catholic Culture and identity

Archbishop’s House

27 Maraval Road,

Port of Spain,


Sunday, 26 June 2011

John Caropi June 23 2011 - the black sheep dog

John Caropi - announcement june 20 2011

John Caropi - announcment June 17th 2011

Father Corapi resigns - what is that about

I cannot think of Father Corapi today and not think of Jack Warner. Jack Warner was brought up before an ethics committee for alleged wrongdoing and resigns from FIFA. Although he has not been found guilty of anything, there seems to be those who assume that he is guilty of something. How will father Corapi be pictured.

I must say I am disappointed with Father Corapi. Many saints in the past were silenced or prejudiced and offered it up to God with the full knowledge that God is their only judge. Father Corapi had no such patience. Several questions come up regarding the good ex-priest.

1. Why was the woman who accused Father Corapi of wrongdoing being sued by Father Corapi for Breach of Contract regarding privacy matters at Santa Cruz media?
2. Why did she have to sign such a contract in the first place? It is a religious company. Or is it?
3. What earnings from Santa Cruz Media does Father Corapi recieve?
4. As a member of a Holy Order, didn't father Corapi take a poverty vow?
5. Does the resignation mean that he does not like his vow of obedience?
6. Has the devil gotten to this man?
7. Did he resign because he was guilty of other issues.. not the issue he is publicly accused of?

Man! I could ask so many more questions. I am saddened by his choice and a bit concerned. He now wants to preach under the tagline... the Black Sheep Dog. What does that mean?

Christian Divorce

I find it hard to see couples working hard at building a house, a home, a family and a career and then deciding to split up. The events leading up to the breakup is like cholesterol building up in the arteries. You don't know it until you are having a major crisis. ... and then it's all over. Or is it. There is the battle for investments of monetary and emotional value. There is pain and there is a numbness. There is a feeling to let go and "to hell with it all". but what about when Christians split. This excellent article comes from and is written by Chuck Colson (june 23 2011):

I still remember my sadness on hearing that an old friend, someone I believed was a sincere Christian, was leaving his wife. I was shocked and disappointed. How could this man, committed to both his spouse and his Lord, fall in love with another woman?

An essay by the late Sheldon Vanauken helps answer the question and reminds us that such temptations are all too common.

Vanauken, best known as the author of the powerful love story entitled A Severe Mercy, also published a collection of essays called Under the Mercy, which explores these feelings.

In one essay called "The Loves," Vanauken describes how a Christian friend named John shocked him by announcing that he was leaving his wife to marry another woman. John explained his sudden change of heart by saying, "It seemed so good, so right. That's when we knew we had to get the divorces. We belonged together."

As Vanauken explains, John was "invoking a higher law: the feeling of goodness and rightness. A feeling so powerful that it swept away . . . whatever guilt [he] would otherwise have felt" for what he was doing to his family.

Sadly, many people love their spouse not as a person, but as someone who evokes certain feelings. Their wedding vow was not so much to the person as to that feeling. So when such people fall in love with someone else, they just transfer that vow to the other person. And why not? says Vanauken, "If vows are nothing but feelings?"

Vanauken dubs these thrilling emotions "The Sanction of Eros." When John spoke of the goodness of his new love, "the sacred approval [he said he] felt could not possibly have come from [God,] whose disapproval of divorce is explicit in Scripture. It is Eros, the pagan god of lovers, who confers this sanction upon the worshipers at his altar."

Vanauken continues, "The pronouncement of Eros that this love is so good and so right that all betrayals are justified is simply a lie." But worst of all, those caught in its thrall of Eros are convinced their love is different, even sacred. They do not dream, Vanauken says, "that every other lover has the same assurance."

Now, can the Eros type of love -- this emotional and physical attachment -- be a healthy part of a marriage? Of course! But Eros is not the type of love that glues husbands and wives together “‘til death do us part.” That love would be Agape love -- the love modeled by Christ’s self-sacrifice on the cross for His Bride, the Church. Agape is the love Paul talks about in Ephesians 5:25, when he commands husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the Church.

Agape seeks to bless the other person; it is totally self-giving. Eros, especially outside of marriage, seeks only to use the other. Its goal is self-gratification. And that's why pastors have to work hard to teach engaged couples about the necessity of understanding Agape love. At some point, Eros will almost certainly beckon with an exciting new love -- and the feelings of rightness, and even sacredness, may be overwhelming.

Couples need to know that only when Christ and Agape love are at the heart of their marriage can they withstand these temptations.

Come to; we’ll provide links to organizations and resources that will help strengthen your marriage and build strong marriages in your church and community.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Cathedral Restoration fund not doing so bad at all

The following was taken from the Archbishops Appeal Blog:

We aint doing bad.

In accordance with our commitment to transparency, the Archbishop's Appeal has produced its second financial report. Measured against the original goal set for annual fundraising of TT$3.5 million per year over 10 years, the Archdiocese has done remarkably well. Total contributions raised as at May 31, 2011 are $4,392,123.49.

The special collection in November 2010 represents 41% of this total and the remaining 59% represents ongoing contributions. The level of ongoing commitment is a positive reflection of the generosity of donors supporting the Appeal. Our annual fundraising effort is in support of the Mission of the Church; Pastoral priorities, programmes and restoration/renovation of aging churches in the Archdiocese, in particular, our Mother Church, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

Statue of Mary at the cathedralSince our last report in February, we have received the dilapidation report from our team of professional contractors. This report details much more accurately, the scope of the work necessary to restore our Cathedral to its former glory. Restoration is scheduled based on the critical nature of the works and available funding. There are eight phases over a five-year period, each phase tendered separately to facilitate fund raising, and work phases following immediately one after the other. The Cathedral will be kept open to the public during restoration.

Given the long duration of the overall Cathedral restoration project, we are concentrating on raising funds on a phase-by-phase basis. Phase 1 includes emergency works such as the replacement/repair to areas in an advanced state of deterioration and where the deficiency is critical, life-threatening and rapidly advancing to a state of total disrepair. Phase 1 will address repairs to the leaking roof and upper walls, cast iron clerestory rose windows and clerestory exterior walls, pest eradication and purchasing of scaffolding. The crypt where our past Archbishops are interred, including our own beloved Archbishop Anthony Pantin, will be outfitted with a water pump to stop the severe flooding which occurs with rising tides.

Our financial goal for Phase 1 of the Cathedral restoration is TT$15M. We need to raise this by October this year, the target start date for the project. We therefore encourage you to continue to honour your pledges and get your Appeal envelopes from your Parish or the Chancery at Archbishop's House. Many people have chosen to give under a Deed of Covenant to take advantage of the tax benefits allowed by so doing. We also invite you to remember the Appeal in your Estate Planning. To simplify your ease of giving, you can donate directly through the online facility at our website: Simply click on the donate button and you will be guided accordingly. Our note below on “Ways To Give” is self-explanatory.

In addition to your generosity, we rely on funding from our Government, the Corporate Community and our own fundraisers to meet our target of $15M. We are attempting to reach the international market through a watch listing of the Cathedral on the World Monument Fund and placing collection boxes at Piarco International Airport and the Port. The charitable silent auction planned for October 1, 2011 at Archbishop's House will be publicised on our website and will facilitate bidding from both local and international markets.

We are greatly encouraged by your tremendous response to our Appeal. We know that together, we have the capacity to fulfil the Church's Mission and offer our sincere thanks for your financial and prayerful support. – Archbishop’s Appeal Commitee

Snapshots of Corpus Christi in Port of Spain 2011

I did not go to the Corpus Christi Mass and Procession to take photographs. I did however walk with my camera and so here are a few photos I took: Chorpus Christi in Port of Spain June 2011.

As we were setting up for the procession the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception group was last. The only thing after us were the priests and the canopy with the Eucharist in Monstrance. Here the banner is displayed and the parishioners are about to assemble behind it.

Both in the courtyard of the Cathedral and on the procession the two national flags were displayed. Trinidad and Tobago and the Vatican.

As is usually the case, every year, there is a group of schoolchildren dropping rose petals along the route in front of the canopy carrying the Eucharist.

To give homage is more important than to take photographs. So I quickly took a snapshot of the Canopy as it approached. Note the guy on the right. At this point the canopy would take the Eucharist to the place of benediction and then return it to the Cathedral.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Being a father

It is not for everyone, being a father. I wanted to be a father and I have been blessed with four children. My children give me a laugh almost daily. They give me joy daily, and yes they make me frustrated daily, and yes they give me stress daily, but it still is the best thing ever.

I love my kids. I love my family. I love being a dad.

Father, We pray for all families and especially Lord for all fathers. Bless us today and every day. We ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Saint Joseph, Patron saint of families and fathers, intercede for me that I may be a good example and provider for my wife and children.

Trinidad Sunday

Christopher Columbus discovered the Island of Trinidad for Spain on July 31st 1498. It was his third voyage. There are those who say that he saw three hills and named the island for the Holy Trinity. Some say that there are no "three peaks" so that he couldn't have named it because of the hills. What is clear is that it was/is named for the Holy Trinity.

This Sunday (19th June 2011) is the feast of the Holy Trinity, so in a way this is the feast day of the Island of Trinidad. So it shouldn't just be Trinity Sunday, It should be Trinidad Sunday.

Praise God for this country. Praise God for this island. Praise God for it's people.

Father Kenneth Assing - 25 years rocking Trinidad with love

Today, June 18th 2011, Father Kenneth Assing celebrates 25 years being a Priest. Father Assing is the administrator of the Minor Basilica, Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Port of Spain. What a great guy. He is a true servant of Christ, and very Christ like.

Father, Bless Father Assing with long life, strength and happiness. May he continue to be a good and faithful servant to you and may you protect him from anyone or anything that may seek to hinder or hurt him. Amen

Ad Multos Annos

Friday, 17 June 2011

End of the word village

So there is a village in France and there are a bunch of New Agers who are heading to it as the only place to survive the comming end of the world on Dec 21st 2012. But if the world is ending, then NO ONE WILL SURVIVE.

The following is taken from the London daily news of June 16th 2011:

A French Government agency is preparing itself for mass suicides ahead of an Armageddon scenario predicted by a cult that the world "is to end on 21 December 2012". Miviludes the French government agency that monitors cults and suspicious spiritual activities has said that France is at risk of mass suicides by converts of prophesies of "imminent Armageddon".

The prediction that the world will end in 2012 has been made according to various cults who follow the Mayan calendar which reaches 5,000 years at the end of 2012.

The French government is particularly worried about this "apocalyptic scenario" unfolding around France, with a rush of converts travelling to Bugarach a town on a hilltop in the southwest of France, that will survive according to rumours on the internet.

Bugarach and its rocky outcrop, the Pic de Bugarach, have attracted an influx of New Age visitors in recent months, pushing up real estate values and also raising the threat of financial scams and psychological manipulation, according the French government agency Miviludes.

Bugarach, with a population of just 200, has long been considered magical, partly due to what locals claim is an "upside-down mountain" where the top layers of rock are older than the lower ones. The Internet is full rumours and myths about the place, that the mountain is surrounded by a magnetic force, that it is the site of a concealed alien base, or even that it contains an underground access to another world.

And now many have seized on it as the ultimate refuge with Doomsday rapidly approaching.

"I think we need to be careful. We shouldn't get paranoid, but when you see what happened at Waco in the United States, we know this kind of thinking can influence vulnerable people," Miviludes president Georges Fenech told Reuters.

The Apocalyptic scenario is spreading across France with a "mood of gloom" that is engulfing the French. Opinion polls in France regularly show the French as one of the most pessimistic in the world, with the latest Fondapol Foundation showing that 17 per cent of those between 16 and 29 think "the outlook is promising". In contrast in Britain 34 per cent believed the future was promising.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

roll over Sarah Palin move in Michele Bachman

I like Michele Bachman. I don't know much about her, but i like what i have heard. She is putting her bid to be the Republicans choice to run against Obama in the next US Presidential elections. She will not win. I think Obama will get a second term. However, the question remains. Even if she is a great person. Can she lead.. and lead effectively.

By the grace of God and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit... SHE WILL ROCK.

For more information I have included a lifesite article of Tuesday 14th June 2011 written by Peter J Smith.

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire, June 14, 2011 ( - US. Rep. Michele Bachmann made a surprise move during the GOP’s New Hampshire presidential debate, using the format to announce that she was making an official run for the president of the United States.

Bachmann is already known to have been considering a US presidential run, and rumors began floating in March that the chairwoman of the House of Representatives’ Tea Party Caucus would form an exploratory committee in June.

In her first question at the debate, Bachmann seized the spotlight and told moderator, CNN’s John King, that she is all-in for the GOP nomination.

“I just want to make an announcement here for you, John, on CNN tonight,” said Bachmann. “I filed today my paperwork to seek the office of the presidency of the United States today. And I’ll very soon be making my formal announcement.”

Bachmann stressed her pro-life and pro-marriage credentials throughout the debate, and pledged her first priority would be to roll back “ObamaCare”, the national health care reform law known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). She stressed that “it’s senior citizens who have the most to lose in ObamaCare” because PPACA divests $500 billion from Medicare, and reallocates it “to pay for younger people”.

She also highlighted that while she favored states defining marriage on their own, that she would be supportive of a federal marriage amendment.

In contrast to her fellow Minnesotan Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Bachmann stressed that her opposition to legal abortion did not stop at “rape, incest, or the life of the mother.”

“I am 100 percent pro-life. I’ve given birth to five babies, and I’ve taken 23 foster children into my home,” said Bachmann. “I believe in the dignity of life from conception until natural death. I believe in the sanctity of human life.”

Bachmann cited the Declaration of Independence’s statement that “inalienable rights [are] given to us from God, not from government.”

“And the beauty of that is that government cannot take those rights away. Only God can give, and only God can take,” she continued.

“And the first of those rights is life. And I stand for that right. I stand for the right to life. The very few cases that deal with those exceptions are the very tiniest of fraction of cases, and yet they get all the attention,” said Bachmann. “Where all of the firepower is and where the real battle is, is on the general - genuine issue of taking an innocent human life. I stand for life from conception until natural death.”

Pro-life issues are core components of Bachmann’s principles. In her keynote address at the March for Life Rose Dinner on January 24, Bachmann explained that the “life of the unborn is not a sidebar issue … It is the issue that impacts more than any other how you view other issues.”

Bachmann is one of the leading fiscal conservative voices in Congress. During the debate, she stressed that the GOP is a three-legged stool of “peace through strength”, fiscal conservatives, and social conservatives.

“We need everybody to come together because we’re going to win. Just make no mistake about it,” said Bachmann. “I want to announce tonight: President Obama is a one-term president.”

“You’ll win,” said Bachmann, her remarks having prompted cheers and applause from the enthused audience.

Monday, 13 June 2011

The Hidden Exodus... a response

The Editorial of the Catholic Newspaper of the Archdiocese of Port of Spain for Sunday June 12th 2011 mentioned the report made by the National Catholic Reporter on April 18th entitled : The Hidden Exodus - Catholics becoming Protestant.

I wish to add my two cents to the discussion.

First off the article mentions that people leaving the church can be divided into two groups, however, three were identified. Almost half of those who leave the church become disinterested. A Similar group (???) join other christian faiths and about 10% join non christian religions.

The NCR article deals with those who join other christian groups. It is significant to note that about a quarter of these people have left the Catholic church due to our stand on Homosexuality and Abortion. Almost all the others don't feel that they are moved by the Catholic church.

So the group breakdown would read like this:
100 people born catholic
66 Still catholic
15 left the church but don't identify with any other religion
3 left the church for none christian religions
16 left the church for other christian denominations

... of those 16 people "half of those who became Protestants say they left because they stopped believing in Catholic teaching, specific questions get much lower responses. Only 23 percent said they left because of the church’s teaching on abortion and homosexuality; only 23 percent because of the church’s teaching on divorce; only 21 percent because of the rule that priests cannot marry; only 16 percent because of the church’s teaching on birth control; only 16 percent because of the way the church treats women; only 11 percent because they were unhappy with the teachings on poverty, war and the death penalty."

If the math doesn't add up, remember, there were many questions to answer. So the data is reflective of specific questions and not a dividing up of the group.

I am not sure that we can apply those figures to us in Trinidad, however, at the last Synod we had here in Trinidad we discussed this matter as it pertains to the Trinidad Church. The truth is that people go where they get fed... or that they believe that they are being fed (spiritually). The Catholic Church is not a tent revival, nor is it a Broadway production. Our Mass is a solemn event with the Eucharist "Christ the KING" being our focal point. All those who chase the feel good religions or leave the church because of our values need our prayers.

It is important to note that in hard times companies cut staff and reorganize themselves to be very effective in their core operations. Maybe this is our time to get rid of the people on the fence so that the remaining Catholics would be true lights in the darkness of this world. ... and maybe if we get rid of the dead weight, we would have enough priests to give proper guidance.

I don't know. What do you think?

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

What would Jesus do? Should I even ask.

1896 novel

In 1896 (yes 1896) a book was released by a Congregationalist church minister Charles Sheldon. It was titled "In His Steps" and was subtitled "What Would Jesus Do?"

Congregationalist Churches are protestant churches that form their own theology and reason. They run their own affairs and may or may not be part of an umbrella organization, but not controlled by such an organization.

The ethos of Sheldon's approach to the Christian life was expressed in this phrase "What Would Jesus Do", with Jesus being a moral example as well as a Saviour figure. In this popular novel (it had been translated into 21 languages by 1935), Rev. Henry Maxwell encounters a homeless man who challenges him to take seriously the imitation of Christ. The homeless man has difficulty understanding why, in his view, so many Christians ignore the poor.This leads to many of the novel's characters asking, "What would Jesus do?" when faced with decisions of some importance. This has the effect of making the characters embrace Christianity more seriously and to focus on what they see as its core — the life of Christ. In the novel men and women respond in different ways: in contrast to the men who vow never to act without asking what Jesus would do, the women's task is self-sacrificial; for example, a singer gives up her voice, both in the sense of yielding her singing to the cause and in the sense of silencing the individual expression of her personality (wiki)

"What would Jesus do?" presupposes that the person asking the question has an intimate knowledge of Jesus. Even Jesus says in Matthew chapter 7: 22-23

"When the day comes many will say to me, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, drive out demons in your name, work many miracles in your name?"
"Then I shall tell them to their faces: I have never known you; away from me, all evil doers!"

Still. it is a good question to ask.