Saturday, 18 February 2012

Are Trinidad Catholic schools preparing our children for heaven or earth?

I am not a big fan of Carnival. When it comes to carnival there is a fish and fowl mentality. Either you love it or you hate it. I don't hate it. I just think that it is not for me. Carnival originated from Catholicism - A time for feasting and frolicking before the fasting of lent.

My issue with Carnival is not Carnival, but Catholics priority to Carnival- Specifically in the Schools. There is a sense of we MUST partake. Well OK. But if we are to partake we must give Catholic Tradition and education as big a billing or a bigger billing.

Our Synod Mandate this year - the second Pastoral Priority is Revitalising Catholic Culture and Identity. The Pontifical Council for Culture has some recommendations for this. One States:

Addressing the split between the Gospel and culture. We need to regain the depths of our own tradition and take hold of our identity as Catholics before we can become relevant and make an impact on society.

So I received a list of School activities for the term. Fund raisers, school meetings, carnival activities, tests and Ash Wednesday. ASH WEDNESDAY ALONE! Comon man! A Catholic school should have feast days and Catholic club activities and dates noted on the school term agenda. Are we raising children to join the secular world, or are we raising children to live their life for heaven?

Our First Pastoral priority (first Synod Mandate) was New Evangelisation. Vernon Ramkhelwan In a May 22 2011 article on the Port of Spain Archdiocese website says that Evangelising isn't working:

One of the weaknesses of the Church in Trinidad and Tobago is its inability to attract more vocations. This problem has been around for some time and there has been the constant call for national prayers to fill the void. But the situation tells us one thing – the New Evangelisation – has not been powerful enough

The reason it isn't working, Vernon, is because we get the kids up to go to school, we go to work. We pick up the kids. They do home work. We cook, clean, and try to get some me time. We need re-enforcement when the kids are not with us. THAT is the role of the CATHOLIC school.

Our current Archbishop Joe Harris says that "the priesthood is an endangered species but the Church cannot exist without priests. Pray that your son becomes a priest. Help him imagine himself as a priest.” Parents often encouraged their children to become lawyers, doctors, engineers or other professionals for the financial benefits, he added. “But we need to pray that they become holy doctors, holy lawyers or holy engineers,” so that they could give back to society." - Where can we reinforce this your grace other than in the SCHOOLS.

Well,I am told that the Archdiocese has a plan. I don't know where we are with this plan. The plan says that "there will be well rounded students by 2015".

An approved Catholic Education Strategic Plan produced under the aegis of the Catholic Education Board of Management (CEBM), was presented to and accepted by Archbishop Edward Gilbert in April 2011 by a Strategic Planning Committee chaired by retired Justice Annestine Sealey. The plan, according to the Introduction, “is the culmination of extensive analysis and assessment of environment and strategic options for Primary level Catholic Education.”

Well. I don't know that that plans speaks about promoting Catholic teachings and ensuring that the catholic child becomes well versed with what we do as Catholics: Feeding the poor, visiting the sick, praying and interceding, being good people.

I want to plead to Catholic School Principals. Make an effort. Our church needs it. Our Nation needs it. Do not let Carnival have a bigger billing than Easter and Jesus.

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