Congratulations to the New Archbishop of Port of Spain.
I listened to him speak to his brother priests at the installation Mass, "We will learn to work together." he said, and I thought good choice of words. Because even though our new archbishop is quite the orator, there are those among his number who really do not care for him. He is their new leader and they took a vow of obedience, so you know they HAVE TO follow his dictates.
There are also church members who do not like him, and those who are quick to criticize him. One such critique is that even though he has the gift of Gab and that constant smile, that he is not a spiritual man. Time will tell. For me, the telling is to ensure that the office of Exorcist is manned. That says that he is fully aware of the devil as an active entity and is ensuring that there is someone or some people who are cable of dealing with this issue.
There are those among us who think that he is as close (as we can get) to former Archbishop Anthony Pantin. That is to say, a rootsy priest.... a peoples person.
His Grace is known for the many good works that he has done, including the work he started in Gonzales place to reduce crime. In the next 17 years, I am sure, the Church in Port of Spain will grow from strength to strength under his stewardship.
As for my criticism? Well so far, I think he could have made a better choice of Vicar General.
Also I think that he has a serious issue that must be deal with. I will not discuss (but will mention) birth control, or the oppressive Catholic secondary schools who bully poor parents for money. I will not discuss the Catholic church's lack of leadership in doing away with the SEA programme and the extortion that parents are forced to pay to get their children into a good school. No. Today I am asking that the Church address the lack of HOPE in our membership. The church today is faced with people just dropping out. They have lost "Hope" they do not believe. Please Your Grace, make this a priority, tell your brother priests that it is ok to tell the flock that they can expect and experience miracles, that it is not a thing of the past. Of the 17% of our church that go to church regularly on Sundays, we need to ensure that that the 90% of those who only walk in and out of church and do not participate in church activity (perhaps because they are not invited) come to church with a sense of HOPE. Two year Confirmation courses supposedly encourage people to come to church, but does it encourage HOPE. (Two year courses??? Really??? is this suppose to encourage activity or chase the youth away?? Why not effect these classes IN SCHOOL?) Masses that keep people in church for 90 minutes and over (not necessarily because of the homily) need to be stopped. People are busy, they don't need to be burdened by the church. Going to Church should not be like unpleasant work that has to be done. That encourages drop outs. Instead, the church needs to show that it is the proper conduit for salvation and HOPE.
So Our Archbishops work begins as he aims to breathe new life into the Archdiocese. Good Luck and may God bless you in your Ministry Your Grace.
The photo at the top is taken from the online Trinidad Guardian and was taken by Marcus Gonzales. It is of two former Port of Spain Archbishops (Gilbert and Harris) with Jason Gordon.