Saturday, 29 December 2012

Feast of the Innocents - Trinidad Tradition

 The 28th of December is the feast of Holy Innocents. Remembering the Slaughter of the innocents (children) in Bethlehem by King Herod 2000 years ago. It is also called Holy Innocents' DayChildermas or Children's Mass. In  Trinidad. the children come to Mass (brought by the parents)  to be blessed, but they also bring their toys to be blessed. The Saturday December 29 2012 edition of the Trinidad Guardian Newspaper has a wonderful article written by Camille Clarke.- Priest prays for children at Feast of the Innocents
Scores of children visited St Ann’s RC Church, St Ann’s, yesterday hoping to be blessed bountifully at the Feast of the Holy Innocents service. Also known as Innocents’ Day, it is a mass that commemorates the massacre of children by King Herod in his attempt to find and kill the baby Jesus. Yesterday, the children and their families brought their toys along to be blessed by Monsignor Esau Joseph.
The children clutched their Christmas gifts, which included Ernie from Sesame Street, Bratz and Raggedy Ann dolls and construction trucks. The choir and parishioners sang an upbeat version of Joy to the World, Little Drummer Boy, Let There Be Peace on Earth, Away in a Manger and Long Time Ago in Bethlehem.
Joseph told parishioners: “The lights on the Christmas tree remind us that God is our light. As followers of Jesus we live as followers of the light. Jesus takes away the sins of the world.” Joseph then quoted from the gospels of Matthew and John about Herod’s slaughter of the Jewish children.
He said Jesus’ father, Joseph, fled to Egypt with his wife Mary and Jesus after an angel visited to warn them that Herod intended to kill the infants in that area.
“Today, we ask God to bless the children and their toys...that Jesus will lead them on the right way of light. 
“Nobody knows how they will turn out and we want them to have the guidance of Jesus so that his light will always be with them. “We want to protect them from the Herods that live in this world—danger and violence,” Joseph said.

Monday, 24 December 2012


The Mystical Nativity is a painting  by the Italian Renaissance master Sandro Botticelli

The Greek inscription at the top translates as: "This picture, at the end of the year 1500, in the troubles of Italy, I Alessandro, in the half-time after the time, painted, according to the eleventh [chapter] of Saint John, in the second woe of the Apocalypse, during the release of the devil for three-and-a-half years; then he shall be bound in the twelfth [chapter] and we shall see [him buried] as in this picture". Botticelli believed himself to be living during the Tribulation, possibly due to the upheavals in Europe at the time, and was predicting Christ's Millennium as stated in Biblical text.

The Mystical Nativity depicts a scene of joy and celebration, of earthly and heavenly delight, with angels dancing at the top of the painting. At the top of the painting Sandro Botticelli's name – but also the apocalyptic and troubling words. And there are dark premonitions – the helpless child rests on a sheet that evokes the shroud in which his body will one day be wrapped, while the cave in which the scene is set calls to mind his tomb. The Kings on the left bear no gifts, but their own devotion. At the top of the painting twelve angels dressed in the colours of faith, hope and charity dance in a circle holding olive branches, and above them heaven opens in a great golden dome, while at the bottom of the painting three angels embrace three men, seeming to raise them up from the ground. They hold scrolls which proclaim in Latin, "peace on earth to men of goodwill". Behind them seven devils flee to the underworld, some impaled on their own weapons. In Renaissance times Last Judgment paintings showed viewers the reckoning of the damned and the saved at the time of Christ's Second Coming. In echoing this kind of painting the Mystical Nativity is asking us to think not only of Christ's birth but of his return.."

Wednesday, 19 December 2012


O Clavis David

O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel;
qui aperis, et nemo claudit;
claudis, et nemo aperit:
veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris,
sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.
O Key of David and sceptre of the House of Israel;
you open and no one can shut;
you shut and no one can open:
Come and lead the prisoners from the prison house,
those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.
Isaiah had prophesied:
  • "I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and no one shall shut; he shall shut, and no one shall open." Isaiah 22:22
  • "His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onwards and for evermore." Isaiah 9:7
  • "...To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house."Isaiah 42:7.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Trinidad Catholic Carnival Band 2013

Word & Associates, the creators of the Trinidad Catholic Carnival band has launched it's presentation for Carnival 2013: The Book of Leviticus, the Book of Law, Love and Promise

Below the ladies model costumes for the following sections: The Bird Offerings, Rejoice and Celebrate and Fruit Offerings.
The photo was taken by Nicole Drayton at the band launch,  Assumption RC Parish Hall, Long Circular Road, Maraval,  and appeared in the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian Newspaper on 23rd September 2012.

O Radix, O Root of Jessie, O Antiphon - Wednesday 19th December 2012

O Radix Jesse

O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum,
super quem continebunt reges os suum,
quem Gentes deprecabuntur:
veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare.
O Root of Jesse, standing as a sign among the peoples;
before you kings will shut their mouths,
to you the nations will make their prayer:
Come and deliver us, and delay no longer.
Isaiah had prophesied:
  • "A shoot shall come out from the stock of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots." Isaiah 11:1
  • "On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious." Isaiah 11:10
Jesse was the father of King David, and Micah had prophesied that the Messiah would be of the house and lineage of David and be born in David’s city, Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). Also compare Isaiah 45:14, Isaiah 52:15 and Romans 15:12.

Monday, 17 December 2012

O Adonai O Antiphon - 18th december

Tuesday 18th O Antiphon


O Adonai

O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel,
qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti,
et ei in Sina legem dedisti:
veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.
O Adonai, and leader of the House of Israel,
who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush
and gave him the law on Sinai:
Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm.
Isaiah had prophesied:
  • "[...] but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins." Isaiah 11:4-5
  • "For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our ruler, the Lord is our king; he will save us." Isaiah 33:22
Also compare Exodus 3:2 and Exodus 24:12

Sunday, 16 December 2012

O Sapientia - O Wisdom - O Antiphon for Monday 17th December

O Sapientia

Monday is the17th of December. We begin the O Antiphons.  Today we highlight Wisdom.

O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti,
attingens a fine usque ad finem,
fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia:
veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.
O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High,
reaching from one end to the other,
mightily and sweetly ordering all things:
Come and teach us the way of prudence.
Isaiah had prophesied:
  • "The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him,  the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord." Isaiah 11:2-3
  • "[...] he is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in wisdom." Isaiah 28:29
Also compare Sirach 24:3 and Wisdom of Solomon 8:1

This prophecy is also relevant in that it describes the Messiah as "coming forth from the mouth of the Most High", which is very significant in light of the Christian doctrine, rooted in the first chapter of the Gospel of John, according to which Jesus Christ, the Messiah, is the Incarnate Word of God the Father.

Activists threaten Pope over comment on Gay Marriage

In an article from the Associated Press the Pope is supposed to have said that gay marriage is a threat to peace. This was from a speech he made on Friday 14th December 2012 on the 46th World Peace Day. On Sunday 16th December (Guadette Sunday) some protesters entered St Peters Square with signs in several languages: Two of the signs noted by the Associated press article were:  "Marriage for All" and "Homophobia (equals) death."

 Now what is that? HOMOPHOBIA EQUALS DEATH. Is that a threat? I don't know, but I am quite concerned.

But I am also concerned about the press getting the story right. What did the Pope say about Gay Marriage? I can see that  there would be people who would disagree with the Pope's opinion, but I would not call his speech "hate Speech". I would however call that sign about homophobia equals death as "Hate Speech" and a threat. Maybe the Pope was right - Fundamentalism of the non religious type is also a threat to peace. But what did he actually say? Well His speech was broken into several parts:
  • Preamble
  • Gospel beatitude
  • Peace: God’s gift and the fruit of human effort
  • Peacemakers are those who love, defend and promote life in its fullness
  • Building the good of peace through a new model of development and economics
  • Education for a culture of peace: the role of the family and institutions
  • A pedagogy for peacemakers
 The part that mentions gay marriage is #4 - PEACEMAKERS ARE THOSE WHO LOVE, DEFEND AND PROMOTE LIFE IN ITS FULLNESS - Here it is below.

"4. The path to the attainment of the common good and to peace is above all that of respect for human life in all its many aspects, beginning with its conception, through its development and up to its natural end. True peacemakers, then, are those who love, defend and promote human life in all its dimensions, personal, communitarian and transcendent. Life in its fullness is the height of peace. Anyone who loves peace cannot tolerate attacks and crimes against life.

"Those who insufficiently value human life and, in consequence, support among other things the liberalization of abortion, perhaps do not realize that in this way they are proposing the pursuit of a false peace. The flight from responsibility, which degrades human persons, and even more so the killing of a defenceless and innocent being, will never be able to produce happiness or peace. Indeed how could one claim to bring about peace, the integral development of peoples or even the protection of the environment without defending the life of those who are weakest, beginning with the unborn. Every offence against life, especially at its beginning, inevitably causes irreparable damage to development, peace and the environment. Neither is it just to introduce surreptitiously into legislation false rights or freedoms which, on the basis of a reductive and relativistic view of human beings and the clever use of ambiguous expressions aimed at promoting a supposed right to abortion and euthanasia, pose a threat to the fundamental right to life.

"There is also a need to acknowledge and promote the natural structure of marriage as the union of a man and a woman in the face of attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different types of union; such attempts actually harm and help to destabilize marriage, obscuring its specific nature and its indispensable role in society.

"These principles are not truths of faith, nor are they simply a corollary of the right to religious freedom. They are inscribed in human nature itself, accessible to reason and thus common to all humanity. The Church’s efforts to promote them are not therefore confessional in character, but addressed to all people, whatever their religious affiliation. Efforts of this kind are all the more necessary the more these principles are denied or misunderstood, since this constitutes an offence against the truth of the human person, with serious harm to justice and peace.

"Consequently, another important way of helping to build peace is for legal systems and the administration of justice to recognize the right to invoke the principle of conscientious objection in the face of laws or government measures that offend against human dignity, such as abortion and euthanasia.

"One of the fundamental human rights, also with reference to international peace, is the right of individuals and communities to religious freedom. At this stage in history, it is becoming increasingly important to promote this right not only from the negative point of view, as freedom from – for example, obligations or limitations involving the freedom to choose one’s religion – but also from the positive point of view, in its various expressions, as freedom for – for example, bearing witness to one’s religion, making its teachings known, engaging in activities in the educational, benevolent and charitable fields which permit the practice of religious precepts, and existing and acting as social bodies structured in accordance with the proper doctrinal principles and institutional ends of each. Sadly, even in countries of long-standing Christian tradition, instances of religious intolerance are becoming more numerous, especially in relation to Christianity and those who simply wear identifying signs of their religion.

"Peacemakers must also bear in mind that, in growing sectors of public opinion, the ideologies of radical liberalism and technocracy are spreading the conviction that economic growth should be pursued even to the detriment of the state’s social responsibilities and civil society’s networks of solidarity, together with social rights and duties. It should be remembered that these rights and duties are fundamental for the full realisation of other rights and duties, starting with those which are civil and political.

"One of the social rights and duties most under threat today is the right to work. The reason for this is that labour and the rightful recognition of workers’ juridical status are increasingly undervalued, since economic development is thought to depend principally on completely free markets. Labour is thus regarded as a variable dependent on economic and financial mechanisms. In this regard, I would reaffirm that human dignity and economic, social and political factors, demand that we continue 'to prioritise the goal of access to steady employment for everyone'. If this ambitious goal is to be realised, one prior condition is a fresh outlook on work, based on ethical principles and spiritual values that reinforce the notion of work as a fundamental good for the individual, for the family and for society. Corresponding to this good are a duty and a right that demand courageous new policies of universal employment.

Building the good of peace through a new model of development and economics

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Catholics raise their voices against Jamaican government bad spending

Should Catholics get involved in politics? YES YES YES !

We must seek the protection of the poor against injustice. And so the RC Social Justice Commission in Jamaica had something to say about the Jamaica government spending. 

The current rate of exchange between the US and Jamaica Dollar is one US Dollar is worth $92.18 Jamaican Dollars. Jamaica isn't doing so well yet the country wants to spend big money on politician vehicles. .....NO NO NO!  

Here is an article from the Jamiaca Observer:
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Members of the Roman Catholic Social Justice Commission today knocked the government for spending some $60 million on the purchase of high-end vehicles for its ministers.
“We believe that this decision is imprudent at the time, given the countries socio-economic position, and especially when the government is asking everyone else to make sacrifices,” the Roman Catholics said in a release today.

“The government cannot have one set of rules for the mass and a separate rule for itself. The issue is both a matter of insensitivity towards the majority of the people, and also a question of social injustice,” it added.  
The Catholics argued that there was currently a programme of tight fiscal management in order to reduce the national debt, a lingering global recession, along with other pressing social needs in the area of education, health and the care of the nation’s children.

Against this background they said that “government must formulate a policy which allows its officers to effectively carry out their responsibilities to the public while also behaving in such a manner that they are able to identify with the economic reality of the Jamaican people.  There must be no impression of fiscal insensitivity to the reality of the public as against government use of public funds”. 

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Christianity and the pumpkin

A woman was asked by a coworker, “What is it like to be a Christian?”

The coworker replied, “It is like being a pumpkin. 

God picks you from the patch, brings you in, and washes all the dirt off of you. Then He cuts off the top and scoops out all the yucky stuff. He removes the seeds of doubt, hate, and greed. Then He carves you a new smiling face and puts His light inside of you to shine for all the world to see.”

Monday, 3 December 2012

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Jesus was not born on Christmas day????

Well, that is not news. But does it matter? We celebrate His birth on that day. A miraculous birth that must be celebrated. Still, so many forget, Christmas may be the biggest commercial holiday but it is not the biggest religious day for us Catholics. The most important days are Good Friday when Jesus died for our sins and Easter Sunday when He raised Himself to conquer death. Anyhoo here is an interesting article from the Telegraph about something in one of the Pope's book's:

The entire Christian calendar is based on a miscalculation, the Pope has declared, as he claims in a new book that Jesus was born several years earlier than commonly believed.

The 'mistake' was made by a sixth century monk known as Dionysius Exiguus or in English Dennis the Small, the 85-year-old pontiff claims in the book 'Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives', published on Wednesday (21st November 2012).
"The calculation of the beginning of our calendar – based on the birth of Jesus – was made by Dionysius Exiguus, who made a mistake in his calculations by several years," the Pope writes in the book, which went on sale around the world with an initial print run of a million copies.
"The actual date of Jesus's birth was several years before."
The assertion that the Christian calendar is based on a false premise is not new – many historians believe that Christ was born sometime between 7BC and 2BC. But the fact that doubts over one of the keystones of Christian tradition have been raised by the leader of the world's one billion Catholics is striking. 
 Dennis the Small, who was born in Eastern Europe, is credited with being the "inventor" of the modern calendar and the concept of the Anno Domini era. He drew up the new system in part to distance it from the calendar in use at the time, which was based on the years since the reign of the Roman emperor Diocletian.
The emperor had persecuted Christians, so there was good reason to expunge him from the new dating system in favour of one inspired by the birth of Christ. The monk's calendar became widely accepted in Europe after it was adopted by the Venerable Bede, the historian-monk, to date the events that he recounted in his Ecclesiastical History of the English People, which he completed in AD 731.
But exactly how Dennis calculated the year of Christ's birth is not clear and the Pope's claim that he made a mistake is a view shared by many scholars. The Bible does not specify a date for the birth of Christ. The monk instead appears to have based his calculations on vague references to Jesus's age at the start of his ministry and the fact that he was baptised in the reign of the emperor Tiberius.
Christ's birth date is not the only controversy raised by the Pope in his new book – he also said that contrary to the traditional Nativity scene, there were no oxen, donkeys or other animals at Jesus's birth.
He also weighs in on the debate over Christ's birthplace, rejecting arguments by some scholars that he was born in Nazareth rather than Bethlehem. John Barton, Professor of the Interpretation of the Holy Scripture at Oriel College, Oxford University, said most academics agreed with the Pope that the Christian calendar was wrong and that Jesus was born several years earlier than commonly thought, probably between 6BC and 4BC.
"There is no reference to when he was born in the Bible - all we know is that he was born in the reign of Herod the Great, who died before 1AD," he told The Daily Telegraph. "It's been surmised for a very long time that Jesus was born before 1AD - no one knows for sure."
The idea that Christ was born on Dec 25 also has no basis in historical fact. "We don't even know which season he was born in. The whole idea of celebrating his birth during the darkest part of the year is probably linked to pagan traditions and the winter solstice."

Restoration of the Catholic Cathedral - Port of Spain

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Divali and the Catholic with a love for sweets

Some indian sweets comon in Trinidad

At this time of Devali, many Catholics in Trinidad partake of the Hindu foods and sweets. Some of these sweets are offered to idols. One particular sweet which cannot be purchased is Prasad. The word Prasad means "gracious gift" in Hindi and really is a gift offered to the god/godess. This food and others are then shared with all as a gift from their god. The prasad is considered to have the deity's blessing residing within it. So the blessing of prosperity is given to those who eat food offered to Lakshmi on Divali day.

Now how do we as Catholics reconcile ourselves to eating these foods. Well the bible gives us a clear reasoning in 1 Corinthians:
Now, concerning what you wrote about food offered to idols.

It is true, of course, that “all of us have knowledge,” as they say. Such knowledge, however, puffs a person up with pride; but love builds up. Those who think they know something really don't know as they ought to know. But the person who loves God is known by him.

So then, about eating the food offered to idols: we know that an idol stands for something that does not really exist; we know that there is only the one God. Even if there are so-called “gods,” whether in heaven or on earth, and even though there are many of these “gods” and “lords,”  yet there is for us only one God, the Father, who is the Creator of all things and for whom we live; and there is only one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things were created and through whom we live.
But not everyone knows this truth. Some people have been so used to idols that to this day when they eat such food they still think of it as food that belongs to an idol; their conscience is weak, and they feel they are defiled by the food. Food, however, will not improve our relation with God; we shall not lose anything if we do not eat, nor shall we gain anything if we do eat.
Be careful, however, not to let your freedom of action make those who are weak in the faith fall into sin. Suppose a person whose conscience is weak in this matter sees you, who have so-called “knowledge,” eating in the temple of an idol; will not this encourage him to eat food offered to idols? And so this weak person, your brother for whom Christ died, will perish because of your “knowledge”! And in this way you will be sinning against Christ by sinning against other Christians and wounding their weak conscience. So then, if food makes a believer sin, I will never eat meat again, so as not to make a believer fall into sin.

Trinidad and Tobago Catholics in the Workplace Convention

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

shub devali

To all my Hindu Brothers and Sisters Shub Devali. (happy Diwali). The story of the Hindu gods are like the story of the Greek gods. Full of intrigue and Drama. Hindu's celebrate several events in the story of their gods in relation to Devali.
The killing of Narakasura: Celebrated as Naraka Chaturdashi, one day before Diwali, it commemorates the killing of the evil demon Narakasura, who wreaked havoc. Krishna's wife Satyabhama killed Narakasura during the Dwapara yuga. In another version of the belief, the demon was killed by Krishna or Krishna provoked his wife Satyabhama to kill Narshna, defeating Indradebated with the villagers about what their 'dharma' truly was. They were farmers, they should do their duty and concentrate on farming and protection of their cattle. He said that all human beings should do their 'karma' to the best of their ability and not pray for natural phenomenon. The villagers were convinced by Krishna, and did not proceed with the special puja (prayer). Indra was then angered, and flooded the village. Krishna lifted Mount Govardhan and held it up to protect the people and cattle from the rain. Indra finally accepted defeat and recognized Krishna as supreme. Although this aspect of Krishna's life is sometimes ignored it sets up the basis of the 'karma' philosophy later detailed in the Bhagavat Gita.
So the story is that Light overshadowed darkness. 

Today I have my indian sweets to eat and celebrate the power of Light over darkness.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Ballot Initiatives for the US 2012 election and their results

So the US General Election is over and there are those who are happy, and there are those who are not. More than just electing a Presient, this election also listed a number of initiatives on the ballot, depending on which state and county you were in. Here is a list of how some of these initiatives did:

MARIJUANA - Arkansas, Colorado, Massachusetts, Montana, Oregon and Washington had ballot initiatives referencing marijuana.
  • Montana voted to ban the use of medical marijuana - the ballot measure repealled I-148, a medical marijuana program approved in 2004.
  • Arkansas' ballot measure to legalize the use of medical marijuana was voted down.
  • Colorado's ballot measure to legalize the use of marijuana passed.
  • Massachusetts' ballot measure to legalize the use of medical marijuana was approved.
  • Oregon's ballot measure to legalize marijuana failed.
  • Washington's ballot measure to legalize the growth and distribution of marijuana passed.
SAME SEX MARRAIGE - Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington had ballot initiatives referencing same-sex marriage.
  • Washington's ballot measure asks voters if they are for the legalization of same-sex marriage. They answered yes.
  • Maine's ballot measure to overturn the state's 2009 ban on same-sex marriage passed.
  • Maryland's ballot measure to legalize same-sex marriage passed.
  • Minnesota's ballot measure to define marriage as being between a man and a woman failed
DEATH PENALTY - California's Proposition 34, which would have repealed the death penalty, was voted down.
PORN STARS AND CONDOMS - LA COUNTY (California) Measure B Initiative passed. This measure makes it mandatory that men in the sex-movie industry wear condoms.
LIMITING OBAMACARE -Alabama, Florida, Montana and Wyoming had Initiatives to Limit ObamaCare. 
  • Alabama voters agreed to limit Obamacare - 59%
  • Florida voters agreed to limit it - 51%.  
  • However Florida amendment 6, to prevent state money from being spent on abortion or on health benefit coverage that included coverage of abortion was voted down.
  • Montana voters agreed to limit Obamacare - 67%
  • Wyoming voters agreed to limit it - 77%

Ted Nugent speaks on Obama's re-election - calls people who voted for Obama Souless Fools.

So I know that Barack Obama is getting lots of congratulations from all over the world for his re-election to the White House. Even the Pope sent his. But there are those Republicans who will never send Obama congratulations, and Ted Nugent is one of them.

Now, When Oprah endorsed Obama she said that he was "the best person for the job". I did not agree then, and I do not agree now. I beleive that the best person for the job then, was Hilary Clinton, and that she would have carried on the policies of her husband Bill. I beleive Bill Clinton was the best President the USA has had over the past few decades.

In Trinidad, most people love Obama. They really don't know his policies... or even care. They love the fact that a black man has achieved the status of the most powerful man in the World. While there is alot of pride in that, there is a lot of racism in that too....

I myself would have prefered Mitt Romney win the 2012 election. I think he would do a better job than Obama. Obama has not been able to turn around the economy sufficiently. But many world economists say that that is ok. They are saying that once the US economy does not fall or rise too greatly, it would not have any serious effect on the European economies. China, Japan, India, Brazil, are the ecomies to watch.

Despite what I feel about the outcome of the elcections, I don't think I could be as rough as the Motor City Madman. I love the Nuge, even though I am not a huge fan of their music. I love the fact that he really doesn't care what he says and what others think of him saying it.  Here is what the online Inquisitor has quoted Ted Nugent as saying::
  • “Pimps whores & welfare brats & their soulless supporters have a president to destroy America”
  • “So Obama still demands the hardest workers provide for the nonworkers. Shared opportunities my ass”
  • “What subhuman varmint believes others must pay for their obesity, booze, cellphones, birthcontrol, abortions & lives”
  • “Goodluck America. You just voted for economic & spiritual suicide. Soulless fools”

Friday, 2 November 2012


A friend of mine advised me of two Lecturers at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus,  who need to be fired. These two lecturers teach Caribbean History and have been known to twist the history of the caribbean to make the Catholic Church look bad. This is not right. These leaders in society and in the halls of learning MUST NOT act or perceive to act with prejudice or hateful.

An example of the mistruths being propogated by this couple are that "the Catholic Church opened Schools to get money" Well, how far from the truth is that... very far.

It was quite common by religious groups entering the "New World" to open schools to teach the natives to read, write and learn their Doctrine. BUT not only the Catholics did this. And all built the schools by raising funds.

I have taken the following from the Blog "The Caribbean History Archive" by Gary Besson - A published and highly respected Caribbean Historian:
After emancipation, from the 1830s to the 1860s, education for most children meant basic primary schooling. The catholic and protestant churches were the first institutions to set up and run many primary schools all over Trinidad and Tobago. In 1851, the colonial government also opened primary schools. After 1870, any church school which was big enough was eligible to be state-assisted. The criteria for the monetary aid was that the school had to accept both boys and girls from any faith or denomination, and that the curriculum had to follow guidelines set up by the government. Up to the present day, Trinidad’s primary schools are either Assisted Schools (founded by the various denominations) or Government Primary Schools.
Setting up a school is not a cheap or easy thing, and the purpose of these schools were to further education and CATHOLIC Education. The Parochial School system, was competing with a government school system that did not propagate religion.

In 1850, the catholic population of Trinidad stood at 44,000 out of a total of 70,000 persons. There were sixteen parishes served by twenty resident priests, with thirteen primary schools along with St. Joseph ’s Convent, Port-of-Spain (1836) and St. George’s College (1838).

The Church in Trinidad played such a great role in educating Trinidadians that the Keenan Report of 1869 recommended that Church Schools be granted state aid under certain conditions. Now it is important to note that it was not that long before, that the state had been fighting with the Catholic church in Port of Spain. In the 1850's Archbishop Spacapietra and Governor Elliot were at loggerheads. At the time of the Keenan Report the church was still considered somewhat French.

Bernard Tappin fills in the rest:
The dual system of primary education subsequently came into effect (1870). The colonial government sought the church’s help in furthering its work in education and welfare. In 1868, Governor Gordon got Archbishop Gonin to bring the Dominican sisters to care for the lepers. His successor, Governor Henry Turner Irving in 1878 offered Gonin government funding if the church undertook the responsibility of finding a suitable religious order to run a reformatory. In 1890 the Girls Reformatory was opened, run by the Good Shepherd Sisters of Angers.
The Catholic Church served a need. We did not open schools to receive money. It should be noted that in 1872 the primacy of the Anglican Church ended with the dis-establishment as the state religion. This allowed the Catholic church to become more active. Bernard Tappin Again:
In 1890, Archbishop Flood held discussions concerning the dual system brought about through the Keenan Report. There was again widespread support for a secular system of education. Flood was adamant about his church’s position. He won the day. A new ordinance was passed giving church primary schools increased financial support from the government. The dual system was maintained, with the government very generous with its support. By 1903, the Catholic Church ran the largest number of schools, 72, with a student population of 11,286. The government had 51 schools with 8,731 pupils, the Anglicans ran 48 primary schools and 8,831 pupils and the Presbyterians 50 schools with 5,200 on roll.
In 1960 the Government of Trinidad and Tobago entered into a Concordat or agreement with all the religious bodies owning and or controlling schools to ensure education for all.

After reading the above one can agree that these U.W.I. lecturers should be fired for MISREPRESENTING HISTORY of our wonderful island.

Some african slaves brought Christianity with them to the new world

We know that the Congo was Catholic before the slave trade and that slaves were taken from the Congo (not just those sold by the Kongo King to the Portuguese). So we have to assume that there were African Catholic Slaves sent to the Caribbean. Here is what Wikipedia has to say:

Mvemba a Nzinga or Nzinga Mbemba (c. 1456 – 1542 or 1543), also known as King Afonso I, was a ruler of the Kingdom of Kongo in the first half of the 16th century. Afonso is best known for his vigorous attempt to convert Kongo to a Catholic country, by establishing the Roman Catholic Church in Kongo, providing for its financing from tax revenues, and creating schools. By 1516 there were over 1000 students in the royal school, and other schools were located in the provinces, eventually resulting in the development of a fully literate noble class (schools were not built for ordinary people). Afonso also sought to develop an appropriate theology to merge the religious traditions of his own country with that of Christianity. He studied theological textbooks, falling asleep over them, according to Rui de Aguiar (the Portuguese royal chaplain who was sent to assist him). To aid in this task, Afonso sent various of his children and nobles to Europe to study, including his son Henrique Kinu a Mvemba, who was elevated to the status of bishop in 1518. He was given the bishopric of Utica (in North Africa) by the Vatican, but actually served in Kongo from his return there in the early 1520s until his death in 1531.

The Kingdom of Kongo became a major source of slaves for Portuguese traders and other European powers. The Cantino Atlas of 1502 mentions Kongo as a source of slaves for the island of São Tomé. Slavery had existed in Kongo long before the arrival of the Portuguese, and Afonso's early letters show the evidence of slave markets. They also show the purchase and sale of slaves within the country and his accounts on capturing slaves in war which were given and sold to Portuguese merchants. It is likely that most of the slaves exported to the Portuguese were war captives from Kongo's campaigns of expansion. In addition, the slaving wars helped Afonso consolidate his power in southern and eastern border regions.

Despite its long establishment within his kingdom, Afonso believed that the slave trade should be subject to Kongo law. When he suspected the Portuguese of receiving illegally enslaved persons to sell, he wrote to King João III of Portugal in 1526 imploring him to put a stop to the practice. Ultimately, Afonso decided to establish a special committee to determine the legality of the enslavement of those who were being sold.

4 in the morning

O how I wish it were 4 in the morning. I usually get up at 5. So to be up at 4 would mean that I would begin the day soon. I was exhausted yesterday and went to bed at around 8:30. I slept for 6 hours and so I am up. I watched TV abut and tried to go to sleep. No good. My mind wandered.....

My boss is burying his mother tomorrow. It makes me think of mine. She was a hardworking dedicated mother.  O how she sacrificed.

It is amazing how one's mind travels all over the world at 2 am. Thinking about her led me to thinking about other people's relationships with their parents and children.... the teenage angst years and how best to motivate my children.

I always say that a person does not have to be rich or have "book sense" to make something of themselves. All that person needs is motivation and persistence.

I truly believe that. However, I know that for some people even that is not true. There are people who hear over and over...." If I could do it... anybody could."

 I really don't like  that saying. First off it means that the person who was successful at whatever, has gone through their own self doubt and have found the motivation to achieve their goal, but now suffers from FALSE PRIDE and still at some level probably still have doubt of their abilities.

There are people who, for whatever reason, just can't seem to move out from the position that they are in. Sometimes it may be something  small that prevents them from finding solutions to advancement. Others may want and "tell themselves" they can't have and then become depressed. Still for others it may be depression itself that binds them.

The Boast "If I could, Anybody could" is best put to rest by the prophet Jeremiah: (9:23-24)

"Thus says the Lord: ‘Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.'"

 Father, open the eyes of those who are blinded for a way out. 
Show them your love and give them your guidance 
that they may be able to achieve what they now think as very difficult.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Praying for my dead relatives in November

We are in the month of November. The month that we pray for our fellow Catholics in the Church Suffering (Purgatory). Would we not want others to pray for us?

Remember the Indulgences that can be gained for these souls whenever we say the following prayer and also when we visit their graves to pray for them from the 1st to the 8th of November.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord;
and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May they rest in peace. Amen.

And so for this year (2012) We pray for the following:

My Grandparents:
John Walters (born barbados)
Emelda (Annetta Elswortha) Chandler ( born Grenada)
George Leid (born Grenada)
Elizabeth McMillan (Grenada) (descendant of the Clan McMillan of Loch Abor Scotland)
My Parents:
Austin Leid (Born Grenada)
Jean Walters (Born Trinidad)

My Wifes Grandparents:
Erminio Mosca (of Italian Perantage)
Ethne Prada (Trinidad)
Hugh Blanc (Trinidad)
Jacqueline DeGannes (de la Chantillerie) (Trinidad)

Other Family and Friends:
Lloyd Edwards
Anthony Sookoo
Gloria Corriea
Kelvin Lewis
Christohper Hay

All Saints Prayer

The Blog has a beautiful prayer by St Teresa of Avila for All Saints Day:

“O holy souls that now rejoice without fear of losing your joy and are forever absorbed in the praises of my God! Happy indeed your lot! How right that you should employ yourselves ceaselessly in these praises! and how my soul envies you, free as you now are from the affliction caused by the grievous offenses which are in these unhappy days are committed against my God! No longer do you behold all the ingratitude of men and their blindness nor the multitude of souls being carried away by satan.
O blessed heavenly souls! Help us in our misery and intercede for us with the divine Mercy, so that we may be granted some part of your joy and you may share with us some of that clear knowledge which is now yours.
And You, O my God, make us understand what it is that You give to those who fight manfully through the dream of this miserable life. Help us, O loving souls, to understand what joy it gives you to behold the eternity of your bliss and what delight to possess the certain knowledge that it will never end.
O blessed souls, who knew so well how to profit by the gifts of God, and to purchase with this precious ransom so delectable and enduring a heritage, tell us how you won through Him such an eternal blessing! Assist us, since you are so near the Fountainhead. Draw water for those of us on earth who are perishing with thirst.”

Friday, 26 October 2012

Sad day for St Cecila's church in St Joseph Parish Trinidad

I am so saddened by an act of senseless violence against the church in Trinindad. In the "Trinidad and Tobago Guardian Newspaper" there is an articel today (Friday October 26th 2012) about Vandals destroying church statues and priceless relics. The article is written by Dereck Achong.

Police are investigating an act of vandalism at St Cecilia’s RC Church, Maracas/St Joseph. The sacrilege was discovered at the Maracas Royal Road church around 5 am yesterday by an elderly parishioner, who opens the church each morning for morning Mass.

In an telephone interview yesterday, parishioner Dianne Narine said many holy statues and priceless relics had been destroyed by the vandals, who got into the church on Wednesday night through a back entrance. She said the tabernacle and altar were found overturned and chopped into pieces. The church’s PA system and a wall also were badly damaged but nothing had been stolen.

She added: “Everybody is in tears. We (the parishioners) feel violated and are traumatised. We don’t know who would do such a thing to a place of worship. It is like a piece of us is missing.” Narine believes the suspects could not have come from the nearby La Seiva Village as most of the residents attend the church.

The parishioners believe the vandals destroyed the statues using a small cutlass, which is stored in the building and is used to cut the flowers which adorn the church. Detectives of the Northern Division under the supervision of Senior Supt David Abraham visited the church yesterday morning and interviewed several parishioners and lifted fingerprints from the damaged items.

Narine said she could not estimate the cost of the damage as she said many of the destroyed items were donated over 30 years ago. Up to late yesterday there were no arrests. The Larceny Act 1919 defines the offence of sacrilege as breaking and entering into a place of divine worship and committing an arrestable offence. A person found guilty of sacrilege is liable to up to ten years’ imprisonment. Efforts to contact Archibishop Joseph Harris proved futile.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

It's only a tiny rosebud, a flower of God's design -but who wrote it.

Recently someone posted a comment referring to my posting of the poem "It's only a tiny Rosebud". The individual claimed that the Author of the poem was Vernie McMqueen and that I am to remove the poem. Well, I had searched the internet for the Author and had not seen any. Now after perusing the "turn back to God Blog" I have observed a very interesting exchange on who the poem actually belongs to:

Someone posting as Wendy wrote on "Turn back to God" :

I would like to advise people that this author is known. No one has the right to repost with any links to any site. Be advised that if you post, print, collect any said monies, etc. will result in further actions. No one has permission to post or print or give authorization of such actions
When challanged on what right she had to post such a thing Wendy wrote:
The copyright is in the works and this poem was written for the old preachers back in the day by a lady who died of cancer. She has many paintings and poems but got thrown around after her death. She was a great and true christian lady who believed in God. If you like to know who the author is and give credit without rendering monies or any other type of payments than email me at
Another woman called Jana gave her story on the poem and how it came about:
The “old preacher” was the late Rev. I. H. Terry who pastored a thriving church for many years in Bakersfield, California. The “younger preacher” was Rev. Vaughn Morton who had just gone through a terrible divorce. Rev. Vaughn Morton currently is the pastor of Truth Tabernacle in Fresno, California. As a young evangelist, Rev. Morton told the story of Rev. Terry taking him into his garden, cutting a rosebud off a bush then handed it to him and told him to unfold it. Rev. Morton tried and made a mess of the rose. Then Rev. Terry told him to be patient and let God unfold his life. From that, Rev. Morton preached a sermon he titled, “Just Let It Unfold.” I happened to personally hear him preach this sermon in 1969 at Apostolic Gospel Church of Delano, California. The following week, a woman brought a framed piece of art that was a drawing of a rose around this poem. I don’t believe the real author has ever been given credit for the poem. I don’t recall the woman’s name. I do remember seeing the framed art she brought to the church after Rev. Morton preached the sermon, “Just Let It Unfold.” To be honest, I’m not entirely certain the woman authored the poem but she did have it typewritten with some rose artwork around it in the frame.  
Then the plot thickened. A man posted that HE was the actual Author of the poem:
What followed was an intense discussion of opposing views. Both parties seemed to believe that the poem belonged to their camp. Pastor Darryl Brown says that he did not add the preacher story to the Poem, the other party insisted that it did happen. It would seem that Pastor Brown want's to reach many people and the children of Vernie wants acknowledgement and perhaps something more. Nonetheless, as the good Pastor says God will be the judge.
Now. The real question is " Who do I get permission from to leave my post up?

Here again is my version: IT"S ONLY A TINY ROSEBUD

A newly ordained priest was walking with an older, wiser Priest in a garden one day. Feeling a bit insecure about what God had in store for him, the younger asked the older for some advice.
The older priest walked up to a rosebush and handed the younger a rosebud and told him to open it without tearing off any petals. "What does this have to do with anything" he thought to himself, still out of respect for the older man he tried but soon he realised he could not achieve what was asked of him.
Noticing the younger priests inability to unfold the rosebud without tearing it, the older preacher began to recite the following poem...
"It is only a tiny rosebud,
A flower of God's design;
But I cannot unfold the petals
With these clumsy hands of mine."

"The secret of unfolding flowers
Is not known to such as I.
God opens this flower so easily,
But in my hands they die."

"If I cannot unfold a rosebud,
This flower of God's design,
Then how can I have the wisdom
To unfold this life of mine?"

"So I'll trust in God for leading
Each moment of my day.
I will look to God for guidance
In each step of the way."

"The path that lies before me,
Only my Good Lord knows.
I'll trust God to unfold the moments,
As He unfolds this rose."



Wednesday, 17 October 2012

GO TEACH - A Book by Edward J. Gilbert C.Ss.R., JCD - 9th Archbishop of Port of Spain

Go Teach, a collection of Archbishop Edward Gilbert’s Catholic News columns, was launched to the National Public Library, corner Hart and Abercromby Streets, Port of Spain, on Tuesday (October 16th 2012). The book honours the legacy of the ninth Archbishop of Port of Spain, but its content, mostly teachings on the faith, makes it a delightful companion for the Year of Faith.
In his foreword to Go Teach, the collection of his predecessor’s Catholic News columns, Archbishop of Port of Spain Joseph Harris writes that the new book gives the faithful “a practical resource for study and meditation”. As the Church begins the Year of Faith, it should also be a most welcome resource.
During his 10 years as chief shepherd of the local Church, Archbishop Edward Gilbert wrote extensively, and with great clarity, on various aspects of the faith in the Sunday paper. Several of these columns are reproduced in the 324-page book, paying tribute to the ninth Archbishop of Port of Spain whose lucid teaching style many see as his very special attribute.

This gift, no doubt, has been honed through many years of teaching in the classroom. It is not always appreciated that the Archbishop’s academic career includes 14 years as a professor of Canon Law. Both here in the Archdiocese of Port of Spain and, earlier, in the Diocese of Roseau, Dominica, Archbishop Gilbert embraced wholeheartedly his role as principal teacher of the flock.

The former Archbishop now in Florida is not well and does not travel as before. May God continue to Bless him  in his ministry.


An article appeared in the Antigua Observer newspaper on Saturday, October 13th, 2012. Bishop Ken Ricards of Antigua made a public statement saying that the Catholic Church is not Outdated. It is an interesting arguement. Is it, or isn't it outdated?

St. John’s Antigua- The head of the Roman Catholic Church here has responded to criticisms from within that the church is 200 years behind time. Bishop Ken Ricards says morality is something the church cannot be flexible on.

In an interview just before he died in late August Italian Cardinal Carlo Martini criticized the church for its stance on divorce, Its tradition of not allowing female clergy members and other long standing traditions.

But Bishop Ricahards says the church’s’ consistency doesn’t make it out dated. Catholic Bishop Ken Richars The Catholic Church still does not support divorce. Priests must take a vow of chastity and only men can be priests.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Spain gives Trinidad and Tobago historic documents

Happy National Day to Spain. Our former Colonial masters from 1498 to 1797.

The Fiesta Nacional de España is the national day of Spain. It is held annually on October 12 and is a national holiday. It commemorates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus's first arrival in the Americas, a day also celebrated in other countries. The day is also dedicated to Nuestra Señora del Pilar, Our Lady of the Pillar, the patron saint of all Hispanic peoples and of the Spanish Civil Guard.

Our Lady of the Pillar (Spanish: Nuestra Señora del Pilar) is the name given to the Blessed Virgin Mary for her claimed appearance during the start of Christianity in Spain. She is the Patroness of the Spanish Civil Guard and the Hispanic world (but the Patroness of Spain is the Inmaculate Conception).

So Spain has given Trinidad some Historic Documents. Below is an article taken from the Newsday Papers of October 12th 2012 written by Lara Pickford-Gordon.

A DESCRIPTION of TT by Admiral Christopher Columbus in 1498, the Royal Charter appointing the first Spanish Governor Antonio Cedeño and the earliest recorded economic and social statistics for Trinidad, were among the reproduced historical items given to TT by the Spanish government yesterday.

Also donated was a duplicate of the 1776 map of Trinidad and the “Real Cédula de Poblacíon,” which Spanish Ambassador Joaquín de Arístegui Laborde said is, “considered by some historians to be the social Constitution of the pre-19th century Trinidad.”

Spanish company REPSOL was the main private sponsor of the historical documents. Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar hosted a luncheon at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s yesterday to commemorate the donation of historical documents from the General Archive of the Indies of Seville by the Spanish government. The donation was made to mark TT’s 50th anniversary of Independence and took place on the eve of Spain’s National Day.

Laborde said, “this archival donation clearly shows the islands of Trinidad and Tobago were important components of the hemispheric project for the construction of the Spanish Americas.”

He spoke of the significance of October 12 as a tribute to the transatlantic bond and the shared bond of 300 years.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Happy 100th Birthday Mount Saint Benedict Abbey

This year the Abbey of Mount Saint benedict in Trinidad will celebrate 100 years of existance. Here is a little history of the Abbey from their website:

Dom Mayeul de Caigny, Abbot of the Abbey of San Sebastian, Bahia, Brazil, founded the Abbey of Our Lady of Exile in 1912. Abbot Mayeul had written to the Archbishop of Port of Spain, Trinidad, in October 1911, asking permission to send some of his monks to the Island, as he stated that there was the threat of religious persecution in Brazil. The Archbishop extended an invitation for him to come and choose a suitable locality for his monks. The Abbot chose his site on January 17, 1912, and on October 06 of the same year three of his monks arrived in Trinidad to establish monastic life there. The monastery was dedicated to Our Blessed Mother under the title of Our Lady of Exile, as this story recalled the experience of the monks who, like Mary, were also fleeing the threat of persecution. The beginnings were of a very humble nature. From 1914 Abbot Mayeul supervised the development of the Monastery until he resigned in 1923 and retired to the Abbey of Saint Leo in Florida, USA, where he is buried today. Mount St. Benedict, as it is more popularly known, was granted canonical status as a Conventual Priory on March 06, 1915. Dom Mayeul was succeeded by Dom Hugh van der Sanden, a Dutchman, who encouraged local vocations. During his term the Monastery was affiliated to the Belgian Congregation (Congregation of the Annunciation) in 1927. It was also under his tenure that the Monastery began a seminary in 1943 to prepare young men for the diocesan priesthood. In that same year the Monastery established a Secondary School. Dom Hugh was Superior until 1947, when the Monastery was raised to the rank of an Abbey, and Dom Adelbert van Duin was elected as the first Abbot. Dom Bernard Vlaar, another Dutchman, succeeded him. Dom Hildebrand Greene from Guyana was elected the First Caribbean Abbot of the Monastery in 1979, and he was instrumental in establishing a monastic daughter house in Guyana in 1988. In 1995, with the election of Dom Francis Alleyne, Mount St. Benedict had its first Trinidad born Abbot. In 2003 he was appointed Bishop of Guyana and was replaced by Dom John Pereira. The major ministry of the monks has been spiritual direction and pastoral counselling to the pilgrims who visit the Abbey on a daily basis. Hospitality is extended to all, and people of all faiths: Christians, Hindus and Muslims, and people who profess no faith are all received at the Abbey. In 1967, a Vocational School was established at the Monastery to teach young people a skill such as woodwork, bookbinding, plumbing, welding or some other technical craft to gear them for life. The Monastery has been involved in parochial activity, Pastoral Counselling, Agriculture, Apiculture, Education, Credit Unions, Coaching of young swimmers, Liturgical Renewal, Retreats, and Cottage Industries, such as Yogurt production. “Pax Yogurt” has become very popular in recent years, and this has replaced our former honey production. There are plans to expand this even further. In order to mark the ninetieth anniversary of the Abbey, the monks produced a CD. It consists of some of the compositions of Bro. Paschal Jordan, who is the Superior of the monastic foundation in Guyana.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Newest Caribbean Bishop installed on the french island of Guadaloupe

Monsignor Jean-Yves Riocreux bishop of the diocese of Pointose in France was installed as the new Bishop of Basseterre-Pointe a Pierre (Guadeloupe) on Sunday 30th September 2012.

Jean-Yves Riocreux was born on February 24, 1946. He was ordained priest on 1974, at Marlhes for the Diocese of Noumea. He was the liaison of the French bishops with more that 100 French speaking parishes overseas including in the US.

This installation means all territories in the Antilles Bishops’ Conference now have resident bishops with the exception of Montego Bay, which is currently under Episcopal Administration of Bishop Tiedemann of Mandeville.

Bishop Jean-Yves Riocreux succeeds Bishop Ernest Cabo, who retired a few years ago.

Here is a timeline of the Good Bishop and his history:
24 Feb 1946 - Born Marlhes
31 Mar 1974 - Ordained Deacon Deacon of Nouméa, New Caledonia, Pacific (Oceania)
22 Jun 1974 - Ordained Priest Priest of Nouméa, New Caledonia, Pacific (Oceania)
5 May 2003 - Appointed Bishop of Pontoise, France
29 Jun 2003 - Ordained Bishop Bishop of Pontoise, France
15 Jun 2012 - Appointed Bishop of Basse-Terre (et Pointe-à-Pitre), Guadeloupe, Antilles
30 Sep 2012 - Installed Bishop of Basse-Terre (et Pointe-à-Pitre), Guadeloupe, Antilles

Friday, 21 September 2012

Trinidad and Tobago not looking too Good

Trinidad and Tobago... not looking too good. At least in an article in the Austrailian Catholic Weekly. Here is the Article:

The colourful pictures featured in glossy magazines and travel brochures can be misleading, as Trinidad and Tobago is not the idyllic scene that they illustrate. In reality, the south-east Caribbean island state is in an alarming condition as it nears the fiftieth anniversary of its independence on 31 August 2012. Economic stagnation, extreme social inequality and excessive levels of crime and corruption are part of everyday life.

Other problems include the tension that exists between the similar-sized groups of people from Indian and African descent at certain levels in Trinidad and Tobago, as well as the growing influence held by external stakeholders.

“Yes, it’s true that there’s growing uncertainty and an increasing crime rate,” confirmed Fr Robert Llanos, Vicar General for the Archdiocese of Port of Spain during a visit to the international Catholic charity “Aid to the Church in Need”.

The 54-year-old Catholic priest believes that social inequality is the main cause of the area's plight, as well as a society that is constantly evolving and becoming increasingly individualistic and materialistic. Improving educational facilities and curricula could offer a solution to this. “A lot more needs to be done for education. It’s also important to continue to enhance the skills of teachers,” says the Vicar General.

Despite the fact that the public education system has been reformed in the past, it has failed to satisfy the needs of many youth and young adults. Fr Robert claims that " the Primary and Secondary schools which are run by the Denominational Boards (e.g. Catholic, Anglican, Muslim, Hindu, Presbyterian etc.) are among the best in the country. The Catholic Schools number 119 Primary and 12 Secondary".

There, as in nearly all schools led by Denominational Boards, pupils perform better than in the state institutions, according to the Vicar General. Around 56 per cent of the 1.3 million residents of Trinidad and Tobago are Christians, 26 per cent of which are of Catholic faith. Approximately 24 per cent are Hindus, while 6 per cent are Muslims. Under British rule and right up until the early 20th century, more than one hundred thousand workers were recruited from India, bringing their cultural influences and their religion with them.

In a political sense, Trinidad and Tobago has been governed for decades by two parties, namely the People’s National Movement (PNM) and the United National Congress (UNC). The island state is currently ruled by a coalition of smaller parties led by the UNC.

However, the Vicar General for Port of Spain does not expect politicians to launch any significant educational initiatives any time soon. As he points out, the economic situation is difficult. The United Nations and the World Bank have imposed conditions on international financial assistance. 50 years after it was granted its independence, the state now faces additional dependences. External economic pressures are mounting.

The Vicar General explains; “Financial aid, for instance, is granted on the condition that a country implements population control measures which invariably means legalising abortion and same-sex marriage.” Only several months ago, a gender paper to this effect that was drafted by a government ministry for Parliament was rejected following protests from Christians, Hindus and Muslims.

The Vicar General sees further problems. “The environment in Trinidad and Tobago has become more materialistic. US media has a great influence here. They set the trends.” All religious communities have noticed this, including the Catholic Church. The number of priestly vocations has been on the decline for years. 51 per cent of the pastors from the Archdiocese of Port of Spain are more than 60 years old.

According to the Vicar General, there are currently only four young men preparing to be ordained as Priests. The Archdiocese has reacted to this trend by enhancing family and youth pastoral care and pursuing The New Evangelisation. Last year, “Aid to the Church in Need” donated a total of 20,000 dollars to support media projects aimed at promoting The New Evangelisation.

As Fr Robert puts it: “We want to regenerate the Catholic culture and we’re ready to fight for our own ethical and moral identity. This does not meet with the approval of everyone; politicians are not always well disposed to the Church’s causes.”

Directly under the Holy See, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need. ACN is a Catholic charity – helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.

On Line donations can be made at

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Let me check with "My Wife" and I'll get back to you.

A article in ABC news dated September 18th talks about a piece of Papyrus which mentions Jesus. The article says the following:

The fragment, with just eight lines of text on the front and six lines on the back, is from a fourth-century dialogue, written in the Coptic language, between Jesus and his disciples. In it, Jesus speaks of "my wife," according to Harvard professor Karen L. King, who discovered the fragment.

"The most exciting line in the whole fragment…is the sentence 'Jesus said to them [his disciples], my wife…" King said in a video posted to Harvard's YouTube channel. The next line of text reads, "She will be able to be my disciple."

"This is the only extant ancient text which explicitly portrays Jesus as referring to a wife," King wrote in her paper on the discovery.

Bill Donohue of the Catholic League comments in a news release dated Spetember 19th 2012, on the contention by Harvard professor Karen King that Jesus once remarked, “My wife”:

The evidence that Jesus had a wife can be ascertained by using a magnifying glass to read a 3.8 x 7.6 centimeter inscription made on a scrap of papyrus. We know nothing about when the scrap was discovered. We know nothing about where it was discovered. We know nothing about how it was discovered. We know nothing about the context in which the words were written. And we know nothing about the owner.

What we do know is that two of the three scholars who first examined the scrap questioned its authenticity; they are now unsure whether it is real or a fraud. The third scholar went right to the heart of the matter questioning its grammar, translation and interpretation. Not much left after that.

The reigning dogma in the academy is that words can have multiple meanings. For King, however, the words, “My wife,” are so clear that they “can mean nothing else.” Yet according to some biblical scholars, “sister-wives,” as they are called, were not uncommon in the early centuries: these were women who performed domestic duties but did not have sexual relations. And since we know nothing of the context in which the words were allegedly said, King’s confidence is unwarranted.

King is known for her fertile imagination. For example, she previously claimed that Mary Magdalene was one of the apostles. Even better, in the book in which she made this extraordinary claim, she “rejects his [Jesus’] suffering and death as the path to eternal life.” Not much left after that.

In the 1990s, King sent her German mentor a book she wrote on feminine images in the gospels. She later learned that he “had utterly no interest” in it and quickly pawned it off on his wife, unread.

So after first inventing an apostle for Jesus—who the divinity professor says is not the Savior—King has now invented a wife for him. Her generosity, if not her scholarship, is beyond dispute.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Unbaptised babies, Duenne and other characters

In Trinidad there is a folklore concerning unbaptised babies and children who have died. Duennes they are called.

DUENNES - How they are created into the being that they become is unsure but they are described as "spirits of children who died before they were baptized and as such, they are fated to roam the forests of Trinidad, practicing their wide repertoire of pranks, mostly on living children who are enticed away into the forest and are then left abandoned."(

They are sexless, their feet are turned backwards and they have no faces (although they do have small round mouths). On their rather large heads they wear huge mushroom-shaped straw hats. Duennes are accused of stealing (live) children and/or luring them away from the safety of their homes to certain danger or death. To prevent the Duennes from calling your children into the forest, never shout their names in open places, as the Duennes will take their names, call them and lure them away in your voice. For those who know literature it is reminiscent of the poem "Stolen Child" by William Butler Yeats:

Away with us he's going, the solemn-eyed -
He'll hear no more the lowing, Of the calves on the warm hillside
Or the kettle on the hob, Sing peace into his breast,
Or see the brown mice bob, Round and round the oatmeal chest
For he comes - the human child
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand
From a world more full of weeping than he can understand

LIMBO - There are many folklore tales of lost children, foundlings, changlings and unbaptised dead children. Perhaps these folklore came about because of the church and it's teaching on unbaptised Children and peoples understanding of Limbo.

...the unbaptized baby's soul goes into a state of limbo. In this state, the baby's soul enjoys happiness and contentment for eternity, but lacks the perfect joy of being with God. In other words, it is excluded from Heaven, but does not suffer the ravages of Hell or Purgatory, either.

The theology of LIMBO has been revised. The International Theological Commission (of the Catholic Church) was urged to do extensive research on this question because of the ever growing number of babies who die without the chance to be baptized. Due to the high incidence of abortion, in addition to baby deaths due to disease and war, it has become more urgent for the Church to research and clarify their official opinion on this matter.It now stands as this:

"We can say we have many reasons to hope that there is salvation for these babies." Perhaps these babies do go to heaven. However, "perhaps" is the important word to note. The Church is not saying that they positively go to heaven, but that there is a possibility that they do enjoy eternal salvation after all.

The term Duenne probably came from the time of Spannish occupation of the island. There is a spannish word "duende". A duende is a fairy or goblin like creature. It is more comonly used as a music term. Music that has soul or passion is described as "tener Duende".

GRAVE SCAB - Another folklore of unbaptised children come from scottish lowlands.

it was considered unlucky to step upon "unchristened ground" (the graves of stillborn or unbaptised children) and any who did were said to catch "grave-merels" (or "grave-scab") an illness that causes difficulty of breathing and trembling limbs as well as the burning of the skin as if touched by a hot iron. The only way for this to be relieved was for the unfortunate to wear a sack made from lint grown in a field using manure from a farmyard that has not been disturbed for forty years, spun by the mythical figure Habetrot, bleached by an honest bleacher in an honest miller's milldam and sewed by an honest tailor.

LUTIN - Cajun folklore speaks of the Lutin (loo-tan)which is the spirit of a baby who died before he/she was baptised. The mischievous Lutin plays tricks and pranks on the living.

MYLINGS - In Scandinavian folklore, Mylings are the phantasmal incarnations of the souls of unbaptized children that had been forced to roam the earth until they could persuade someone (or otherwise cause enough of a ruckus to make their wishes known) to bury them properly. The myling (also known as "utburd") is said to chase lone wanderers at night and jump on their backs, demanding to be carried to the graveyard, so they can rest in hallowed ground. Mylings are thought enormous and apparently grow heavier as they near the graveyard, to the point where any person carrying one (or more) could sink into the soil. If one should prove unable to make it into the cemetery, the myling kills its victim in rage. The word "utburd" means "that which is taken outside" and refers to the practice of abandoning unwanted children (e.g. children born out of wedlock or to parents who lacked the means to care for them) in the woods or in other remote places, where death is almost certain to befall them. It is believed that the ghosts of the child will then haunt the place where they had died or, as told of in countless stories, the dwellings of their killers.

WILL-O-THE-WISP - Ghosts associated with unbaptized children come in various shapes and sizes depending not just on country, but in local regions. Some british folklore have them appearing as Will-o-the-Wisps, in parts of Yorkshire they appear as nightjars and in Cornwall and Devon as Pixies. On the Isle of Man folklore suggests that an unbaptized baby would be tasked throughout eternity to carry a light within it’s hands (somewhat similar or Will-o-the-Wisp I assume). A will-o'-the-wisp is a ghostly light seen by travellers at night, especially over bogs, swamps or marshes. It resembles a flickering lamp and is said to recede if approached, drawing travellers from the safe paths. A folk belief well attested in English folklore and in much of European folklore, the phenomenon is known by a variety of names, including jack-o'-lantern, hinkypunk, and hobby lantern in English.

I am pretty sure that other Catholic cultures have similar stories. Perhaps you know of other similar folklore creatures? Let me know.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

The Innocence of Muslims - a youtube movie to denounce

Today I read that Google would not be taking down the youtube video "The Innocence of Muslims". I hadn't seen it, so I had a view. What I saw was a movie edited down to almost 14 minutes. While it did not offend me, I could see why it would offend muslims. If a movie had been made of Jesus Christ in the same manner, I would be offended as a Christian.

I think it is sad that Google would not take down the movie. It is true that islam was spread by the sword, but so was Christianity (to some extent) in the Americas. I am not a muslim sympathizer, but I do believe that to purposely mock and hurt someone is a bad thing - No matter who you are.

Islam spread as far as it could. The Jungles of africa stopped it's spread south. The forests of India (east) and in the north the Europeans (christian Europeans). For many decades the Europeans and the Turks pushed at each other (we just happened to have different faiths). Richard the Lion Hearted and his contemporaries had great respect for Salahudin the great. And they should have. He was indeed a great king (perhaps because he was a muslim).

I am against hate. Stop the hate, be you muslim, Christian or otherwise. Stop it.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Vatican invites Usain Bolt to address religious liberty conference

So I came across this article about Usain Bolt. Did you know that he is Catholic? Well I did not. Well apparently he has been invited to address a Vatican conference on religious liberty.

David Kerr of the Catholic News Agency writes that the Vatican announced this on August 31st. Here is the article

“We look for a most fundamental common ground among different religions,” conference organizer Giovanna Abbiati told CNA Aug. 31. “Most of all we’d like to focus on the absolute value of religious freedom as a human right.”

The TEDx Via della Conciliazione conference will be held in Rome on April 19, 2013, and will focus on the theme “Religious freedom today.” It is being coordinated under the auspices of the Pontifical Council for Culture’s “Courtyard of the Gentiles” outreach, which aims to create a “dialogue between believers and non-believers.”

Those already confirmed as participants are drawn from the worlds of sport, music, culture and academia, including Vlade Divac, the former NBA basketball player; Gloria Estefan, the Cuban-born American pop singer; and the Japanese architect Etsuro Sotoo.

It is the invitation of Bolt, however, that has made the headlines. The 26-year-old recently won three gold medals at the London Olympics. As a Catholic, Bolt is known for making the Sign of the Cross before racing competitively. He also bears the middle name Saint Leo.

Among the other sporting personalities invited to participate is the Ivory Coast soccer star Didier Drogba. However, the NFL quarterback and Evangelical Christian Tim Tebow has already informed organizers that he will not be able to attend.

“I am thrilled to hear art and beauty placed side by side with physical excellence,” said art historian and fellow participant Elizabeth Lev told CNA.

“The Greeks knew athletic prowess was a gift from the heavens, and needed to be cultivated and appreciated as such. Artistic talent, also God-given, was used in the ancient world to produce the stunning sculptures we admire today in the Vatican Museums, from the discus thrower to the heroic amazons,” said Lev, who also works at the Vatican Museums.

She said she is “very much looking forward” to “promoting a modern conversation about art, faith and athletic achievement” in the same way that the early Christian community “extolled those same qualities in their saints and spirituality.”

The TED – Technology, Entertainment and Design – initiative was founded in California in 1984 to disseminate “ideas worth sharing.” It allows speakers 18 minutes to state their case in whatever way they choose. Due to modern technology, many of the presentations have become online hits.

The addition of “x” to the event’s name means that it is being self-organized at the local level and is not being coordinated by TED.

“By hosting a TEDx in Vatican State we want to spread the message of peace, and (highlight) that religious freedom constitutes a very important dimension of a culture of peace,” said organizer Abbiati.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

The letter

My mom passed in December last year. In July this year we get a letter adressed to the "Leid Family" A very nice lady sent us a letter, offering her sympathy and encouraging us to attend her church where others could pray with me and my family at the passing of our loved one. Her church is the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

I had heard that they looked in the newspaper obituaries and sent letters to the bereaved families - but some time after the passing. I had never experienced it before. So now I know it to be true.

At first I felt invaded. How rude of these people. They don't know me. How could they assume to involved themselves in my grief? Then I thought, How nice of them to reach out to others in mourning.

Well, whatever they were up to, it could not be better than the sendoff we gave mummy. We were fortunate to have a full house every night for the nine nights, with prayers, singing and sharing, and on one night the Deacon friend of the family led us in a Eucharistic Service. We had a Mass said for her on the fortieth day after her death and during that period (and after) my wife, children and myself prayed for her soul. Even now we still do.

So thank you people of the Seventh Day Adventist Church... but no thanks.

God Bless you in your ministry. May you carry lost souls to Jesus!

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Congratulations to Trinidad and Tobago on 50 years independence - From Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI, sends Independence greetings to the people of Trinidad and Tobago on the occasion of 50 years independence from the England.

The message which was received by Port of Spain Archbishop Joseph Harris states:

"To His Excellency Dr George Maxwell Richards,
President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Port of Spain.

"I am pleased to send cordial greetings to Your Excellency
and to all your fellow citizens
on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the nation's Independence Day.
Invoking Almighty God's abundant blessings upon your country,

"I pray that the people of Trinidad and Tobago
will continue to promote the common good in a spirit of peace,
justice, and solidarity."

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Churches in Guyana to oppose same-sex bill

Christian Church leaders in Guyana are opposing any moves by government to legalise same-sex relations.

A motion is currently before Guyana’s Parliament calling for a Special Select Committee to be established to determine the attitude of Guyanese of any changes in the legislative provisions and criminal code regarding consensual adult same-sex relationships and discrimination, perceived or real, against lesbians, gays, bi-sexual and transgender persons.

Representatives of the Guyana Evangelical Fellowship, the Georgetown Ministers Fellowship and the Guyana Council of Churches, of which the Catholic Church is a member, held a joint press conference on August 9 at which Desmond Rogers read a statement on behalf of those present in which homosexuality was described as an offence to religion. “It is evident that homosexuality is an offense to religion, morality and public convenience. It is an offense to religion and this is affirmed especially, but not solely, by the Christian and other religious communities of Guyana. It is an offense to morality, since it is wrong, both in contravention of religious principles and natural order and function”, the statement said.

The representatives of the Christian community who make up about 57 per cent of the population also beseeched Members of Parliament not to legalise same-sex relations. “As the servants of the living God, we implore you, Honorable Members of the Tenth Parliament of Guyana, not to pursue the decriminalisation of homosexuality. We are conscious of the political and economic pressure that you may experience or are experiencing and as such encourage you to: (i) preserve the sovereignty of our nation and (ii) preserve the integrity of family life which continues to be the bedrock of our society. We call upon all Guyana to roundly reject any move to legalise homosexuality,” the statement said.

The group plans to send copies of the full statement to members of Parliament and plans to hold their own public engagements and consultations across the country on the issue. They have already held two public seminars on homosexuality. The social networks are also being mobilised. A signature campaign and even a move to the United Nations are also being contemplated. - Catholic Standard