Tuesday, 27 August 2013

College of the Immaculate Conception opens time capsule from 1934

This article was taken from the Catholic news of the archdiocese of Port of Spain dated 24 August 2013:

A look at the September 29, 1934 edition of the Catholic News showed the front page comprised mainly of advertisements; the back page was filled with photos of ‘Bonny Baby Film Stars’, a continuation from the previous Saturday’s issue – yes, the paper was dated Saturdays back then. There was no lead story. It was a broadsheet (not the current tabloid size) and it was only eight pages. The annual subscription was $1.
Past student Christopher Ramdhanie uses a hammer to break the time capsule. After initially using a glasscutter, he eventually had to wrap the bottle in a towel and gently hit it with a bigger hammer to crack it without damaging the contents. Looking on are CIC Past Students’ Union President John Allum (left), acting College principal Nigel Joseph, and Communications Officer of the Union, Nestor Lambert.
Past student Christopher Ramdhanie
uses a hammer to break the time
After initially using a glasscutter,
he eventually had to wrap the bottle
in a towel and gently hit it with a
bigger hammer to crack it without
damaging the contents. Looking
on are CIC Past Students’ Union
President John Allum (left),
acting College principal Nigel Joseph,
and Communications Officer
of the Union, Nestor Lambert.
NALIS library conservator Danielle Fraser displays the copy of the Catholic News found in the time capsule. At right is Afesha Blackwill, assistant library conservator.
NALIS library conservator Danielle
Fraser displays the copy of the
Catholic News found in the time
capsule. At right is Afesha
assistant library conservator.
NALIS library conservator Danielle Fraser examines one of the copper coins found in the time capsule. Looking on are CIC Past Students Union management committee members Nestor Lambert and John Allum.     Photos: Raymond Syms
NALIS library conservator Danielle
Fraser examines one of the
copper coins found in the time
capsule. Looking on are
CIC Past Students Union
management committee
members Nestor Lambert
and John Allum.
Photos: Raymond Syms

A copy of that September 29 edition was folded and squeezed into a glass bottle with a copy of the September 30, 1934 edition of the Sunday Guardian and The Port of Spain Gazette, along with three copper coins and a scroll – to form a time capsule. The capsule was sealed in behind the foundation stone for a new wing of St Mary’s College, which was laid on September 30, 1934. That wing is today the Form Four block of the Port of Spain college.

After 79 years, the contents of the capsule, its presence forgotten over time, were carefully extracted last Tuesday by Danielle Fraser, NALIS library conservator. Among those on hand to witness the ‘breaking of the bottle’ by former student Christopher Ramdhanie, were Nigel Joseph, Acting Principal; John Allum, President, CIC Past Students’ Union; and the Union’s Communications Officer, Nestor Lambert.

The handwritten scroll was removed on August 1; the rest of the contents were being removed that day in the presence of the media – it made for a good news story as it presented a glimpse into life nearly eight decades ago.

The scroll was in the language of the time. “On the thirtieth day of the ninth month of the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and thirty-four, the twelfth year of the Pontificate of His Holiness, Pope Pius XI, in the twenty-fifth year of the Episcopate of the Most Reverend John Pius Dowling, OP, DD, Archbishop of Port of Spain, in the twenty-fourth year of the reign of George V, in the two hundredth year of the birth of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost and the seventy-first year of the coming of the said Congregation to Trinidad, in the eighth year of the Generalship of Mgr Le Hunsec of the said Congregation and the eleventh year of the Superiorship of the Very Rev Fr J. J. English, this foundation stone was blessed by His Grace the Most Reverend John Pius Dowling, Archbishop of Port of Spain, and laid by His Excellency, Sir Alfred Claud Hollis, GCMG, CBE, in presence of a vast concourse of the Elite of Trinidad including the undersigned witnesses.”

The signatories were then Governor Sir Claud Hollis; Archbishop John Pius Dowling OP; Mayor Capt Arthur A Cipriani; the President of the College Union, C. de Verteuil; Principal Fr J.J English, CSSp; the Architect Bro Gabriel Mockveldt, OSB; the Builder, Maurice Acanne; representative of Senior Pupils, Wilfred A Dos Santos; and representative of Junior Pupils, Victor Quesnel Jnr.

Interestingly however, the college archives stated that a G.C. Pantin was the President of the CIC Past Students’ Union and not C. de Verteuil.

Louis Ramdhanie explained to the Catholic News that a new time capsule would be laid on December 6 to signal the end of the year-long sesquicentennial anniversary celebration of the arrival of the Holy Ghost Fathers to Trinidad and Tobago and the establishment of the college. While looking for a suitable location for the time capsule, they were advised by a retired priest that a time capsule had already been laid. Searching their school archives, they found its exact location.

Looking at the scroll, Lambert said the Spiritan seal had evidently disintegrated. NALIS’ Fraser said the historical document would first be “stabilised” and tested before it could go on display in the college’s historical exhibition, carded for October 15-25. Of the other items in the capsule, Fraser said they would undergo several sessions of treatment and tests at NALIS’ laboratory.

Apart from the exhibition, Lambert said a documentary film chronicling the history of the Congregation and college should be ready in early October, while a 200-page coffee table book was being printed for December’s closing activities.

The new time capsule, which will likely include today’s dailies and other items, will be laid in a more conspicuous location – the front lawn of the college’s Frederick Street entrance.

– Raymond Syms

Maria Spes crumbles

For close to 200 years, the statue given the title Maria Spes (literally Mary, our hope) has watched over the southern part of Independence Square, formerly Marine Square, from its alcove in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Sadly, in August 2013 the icon gave up its perch when workmen attempted to relocate it to attend to a structural crack on the wall behind. Seconds after the process began, the statue crumbled – a casualty of time, the elements and the extensive restoration work taking place on the church. The Raymond Syms photo, taken on the morning of the event, gives us the last glimpse of what has been part of our precious heritage.

Parish and Church Celebrities ... do you fit this description

I once met a lady at my brothers house who is part of a Catholic Charismatic group. The group has been having annual tent-like meetings... and what was a small gathering grew into a huge weekend event with speakers coming in from abroad. I was introduced to the lady as the group leader, and when I asked her "what does that mean, to be the group leader" her response expressed arrogance rather than humility of service. She had probably not given it full thought at the time - what it meant for her to be the leader. While I understand that leaders have to overcome allot of negativity, even from within their ranks, and that leaders need a certain amount of arrogance, I can't help but  think of Jesus telling the apostles this:

... so Jesus called them to him and said to them, 'You know that among the gentiles those they call their rulers lord it over them, and their great men make their authority felt. Among you this is not to happen. No; anyone who wants to become great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be slave to all. For the Son of man himself came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.'(Mark 10: 42-45)

 My brother loves this lady "in Christ" and prays for her. Praise God for my brother.

I saw an article recently that made me think of this lady again. She does not act like a Diva, and so to use the article below as a comparison would be inaccurate. It just made me think of her is all.
From the Catholic News Agency - August 23, 2013
From Servants to Celebrities: A growing phenomenon in the Church
By Joe Tremblay 

Fred A. Allen, a radio comedian who was popular in the 1940s, once said, “A celebrity is a person who works hard all of their life to become well known, and then wears dark glasses to avoid being recognized.”  In other words, fame is not all what it seems to be. There is a price to pay for being well known.

 Nevertheless, it is coveted by many. The night of the Oscars, for instance, with the red carpet and adoring fans, can make the life of a celebrity look rather attractive. And why not? Being adulated and accommodated by admirers has its perks.

Unfortunately, Catholics are not immune from coveting the kind of accommodations Hollywood stars enjoy. We have many gifted speakers, writers and musicians within the Church who set out to be servants of Christ but who, nevertheless, behave like celebrities. Instead of setting out to wash people’s feet like our Lord demonstrated, too often, some of these gifted Catholics come to parishes wanting their feet to be washed. Oh yes. They have a list of demands to be met. They, like the Hollywood celebrity, want to be accommodated.

If you are a diocesan or parish event-organizer you may know what I am referring to. Increasingly, I am hearing more stories from people who work for the Church. They tell me that high profile Catholic speakers and musicians go beyond requiring the essentials; that is, the means necessary to carry out their ministry. The funny thing is that these Catholics- many of them well known –profess to follow Christ and hold up the Saints as models to imitate.

For some reason, however, when their God-given gifts and talents are sought after by Catholic communities, something happens. Something gets lost. And that something is the instructions our Lord gave to his disciples. For instance, he said, “Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you…” (Lk 10:8) Elsewhere, he had this to say: “Do not take gold or silver or copper for your belts; no sack for the journey, or a second tunic, or sandals, or walking stick.” As you can see, Jesus requires of his followers a simplicity and detachment from material things. Why? So we can avail ourselves to more effectively serve souls.

Now, many Catholics who are gifted speakers, writers and musicians start off with the intention of being servants. But when they become well known, some turn into celebrities. Instead of wearing sun glasses so as not to be noticed, the Catholic celebrity develops a long list of demands; not of essentials but of luxuries.
One musician came to a parish to share her musical talents. Before the event, she sent word to the parish leaders that she was “hyper-carbohydrate intolerant.”

No, she wasn’t allergic to any foods. She just wanted a Jenny Craig-like entrĂ©e because she wanted to watch her weight.

Another high profile Catholic author and speaker demands a specific kind of purified water in addition to other non-essentials. And yet, another one insists on having a certain kind of granola bar. As for one musician I recently heard about, he will not play for any event unless the host has the newest top-notch keyboard.

Probably what is of high symbolic value of why Church is struggling the way it is with Mass attendance decline etc., has a lot to do with the hotel accommodations our leaders enjoy when they travel on their missions; hotel accommodations that the average person would be hard-pressed to afford. This suggests that many of our leaders – both clergy and laity – have either lost their way or are missing the point. I could be overstating this, but what has happened to many of them is that they turned a vocation of service into a position of privilege.

This, it should be emphasized, is a radical departure from what Christ and the Saints have taught us. The great spiritual classic by Thomas Kempis, The Imitation of Christ, tells us that they endured hardships and persecutions. And yet it was through these trials that souls were saved. In it, Kempis wrote the following:
Saints and friends of Christ, they served our Lord in hunger and in thirst, in cold, in nakedness, in labor and in weariness, in watching, in fasting, prayers and holy meditations, and in frequent persecutions and reproaches. Oh, how many grievous tribulations did the Apostles suffer and the Martyrs and Confessors and Virgins, and all the rest who resolved to follow the steps of Christ!”

Several centuries later, our Lord confirmed the spiritual value of sacrifice and suffering to St. Faustina by saying, “You will save more souls through prayer and suffering than will a missionary through his teachings and sermons alone.”  Yet, how is this truth being observed when our Catholic celebrities practically demand a manicure from the parishes and dioceses they are supposed to serve?

If suffering is an instrument through which conversion is brought about, then they better learn how to start washing feet again.

The Benedictines of Mary... chanting nuns with albums on the music charts

Monday, 12 August 2013

Use new communication tools to "make a mess"

I have seen many local Catholic bloggers sign in, last a few months and then sign out. Life is so busy. We get caught up in so many different things and we put God and the propogation of the faith as secondary. Dear Brothers and sisters don't do that. Follow through. Sometimes it is so hard to come up with a post. Sometimes we do not feel inspired. Sometimes we wonder what is the point anyway. Well, The caribbean catholic Blog has been posting for only a few short years and we have over ten thousand hits per month. Not great, but not bad. Praise be to God.

So every year the Caribbean School for Catholic Communications has a "summer" school. I have never been fortunate to attend. Maybe one year I will. I have to say that I like what I have heard about this years class. "USE NEW COMMUNICATION TOOLS TO MAKE A MESS" Bold, controvercial and expressive. Well Done!

Wake them up. Shake them up.

Here is an article on the course as printed in the Port of Spain Catholic news 11th August 2013:

Using a radically different approach, the annual Caribbean School for Catholic Communications (CSCC) last week began preparing participants to spread the Gospel in these technologically new times.

Under the banner theme Missionary Disciples in a Digital Age, 34 CSCC students used video conferencing software for the first time to connect with US-based presenters, learnt how to create a (web) blog, and sharpened their use of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Even their spiritual reflections were submitted using digital media as they were required to post them on CSCC’s Facebook page.

The main message of last week’s 19th CSCC at Emmaus Centre, Arima, was that Caribbean Catholic communicators must be able to use the tools of the Digital Age for the New Evangelisation, an evangelisation directed towards the baptised who have lost “a living sense of their faith” and who may not even consider themselves members of the Church.

“CSCC is a community of the New Evangelisation,” remarked CSCC principal Bishop Jason Gordon, of the dioceses of Bridgetown (Barbados) and Kingstown (St Vincent). He explained that participants must know the Catholic faith more deeply, live the faith more fully and share the faith more effectively.

The School attracted persons from Grenada, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, and the sub-theme focused on The Scriptures and Religious Imagination in a Digital Civilisation.

Friday, 2 August 2013

What Pope Francis said about gays

There has been a lot written in the media recently about Pope Francis and his thoughts on gay people. These thoughts came about due to an interview the Pope had with a reporter on a plane as he was leaving world youth day in Brazil.  Many of the international news reports (as usual) don’t deal with the real issue of the interview. Instead, one line is taken out and promoted.  Below is a working transcript of the question about Monsignor Ricca  and the supposed gay lobby in the Vatican which the reporter asked:

The following is taken from the blog Salt and Light

 Question: I would like to ask permission to pose a rather delicate question.  Another image that went around the world is that of Monsignor Ricca and the news about his personal life.  I would like to know, your Holiness, what will be done about this question.  How should one deal with this question and how does your Holiness wish to deal with the whole question of the gay lobby?

Answer: Regarding the matter of Monsignor Ricca, I did what Canon Law required and did the required investigation.  And from the investigation, we did not find anything corresponding to the accusations against him.  We found none of that.  That is the answer.  But I would like to add one more thing to this: I see that so many times in the Church, apart from this case and also in this case, one  looks for the “sins of youth,” for example, is it not thus?, And then these things are published.  These things are not crimes.  The crimes are something else: child abuse is a crime.  But sins, if a person, or secular priest or a nun, has committed a sin and then that person experienced conversion, the Lord forgives and when the Lord forgives, the Lord forgets and this is very important for our lives.  When we go to confession and we truly say “I have sinned in this matter,” the Lord forgets and we do not have the right to not forget because we run the risk that the Lord will not forget our sins, eh?  This is a danger.  This is what is important: a theology of sin.  So many times I think of St. Peter: he committed one of the worst sins denying Christ.  And with this sin they made him Pope.  We must think about fact often.

But returning to your question more concretely: in this case [Ricca] I did the required investigation and we found nothing.  That is the first question.  Then you spoke of the gay lobby.  Agh… so much is written about the gay lobby.  I have yet to find on a Vatican identity card the word gay.  They say there are some gay people here.  I think that when we encounter a gay person, we must make the distinction between the fact of a person being gay and the fact of a lobby, because lobbies are not good.  They are bad.  If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge that person?  The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this point beautifully but says, wait a moment, how does it say, it says, these persons must never be marginalized and “they must be integrated into society.”

The problem is not that one has this tendency; no, we must be brothers, this is the first matter.  There is another problem, another one: the problem is to form a lobby of those who have this tendency, a lobby of the greedy people, a lobby of politicians, a lobby of Masons, so many lobbies.  This is the most serious problem for me. And thank you so much for doing this question. Thank you very much!

Words to give us guidance

Lord didn't create anything without a purpose,
But mosquitoes come close.

When you get to your wit's end,

You'll find God lives there.

Opportunity may knock once,
But temptation bangs on the front door forever.

Quit griping about your church;

If it was perfect, you couldn't belong.

If a parish wants a better priest,
It only needs to pray for the one it has.

We're called to be witnesses, not lawyers or Judges.

God Himself doesn't propose to judge a man until
he is dead. So why should you?

Some minds are like concrete
Thoroughly mixed up and permanently set.

Peace starts with a smile.

I don't know why some people change churches;
What difference does it make which one you stay home from?

Be ye fishers of men. You catch 'em - He'll clean 'em.

Stop, Drop, and Roll won't work in Hell.

Coincidence is when God chooses to remain anonymous.

Don't wait for 6 strong men to take you to church.

Forbidden fruits create many jams.

God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called.

God loves everyone,
But probably prefers 'fruits of the spirit' over 'religious nuts!'

God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage.

He who angers you, controls you!

If God is your Co-pilot, swap seats!

Prayer: Don't give God instructions, just report for duty!

The task ahead of us is never as
great as the Power behind us.

The Will of God never takes you to where the
Grace of God will not protect you.

We don't change the message,
The message changes us.