Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Fr. Ferdinand Warner

fr ferdie news and views a video by Jodor_Parish on Flickr.

A short video and message for our former parish priest Fr. Ferdie. May God bless him as he continues his service.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Corpus Christi

In this celebration we proclaim our belief in the Real presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. We also proclaim that same Jesus lives within each one of us who are baptized into His Body, the Church. In the Holy Eucharist we receive the Divine Host whom we carry in procession. Through our Baptism he has taken up residence within each one of us. We carry Him into the real world just as we carry the monstrance into its streets on Thursday or on Sunday. The procession reflects our mission. 

This is just a short excerpt from Catholic Online's Article:
(Click the above topic to view the entire article)

Now as we consider our second priority "Catholic Culture & Identity" 
  • How do you believe as a Catholic you identify with the feast of Corpus Christi?
  • Secondly, how can you carry Jesus into the world ?

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Sr. Sandra Xavier, O.P. celebrates 25 years of religious profession.

Sr. Sandra Francisca Xavier hailing from the parish of St. Joseph entered the Religious Life as a postulant with the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena on Saturday 27 th. August 1983.  She made her first profession on the 6th June 1986 and five years later made her Final Profession on the 1st of June 1991.On Saturday 11th June 2011 the Dominican Sisters, Sr. Sandra’s family and many well-wishers gathered at the St. Joseph R. C Church to celebrate her 25th anniversary of Religious Profession.  In an interview with Sr. Renee Hall, Sr. Sandra reflected on her journey thus far. The following questions were posed to Sr. Sandra

Why did you enter Religious Life? (RL)
 I entered because I wanted to serve in the church and to live in community. I did not quite grasp or fully understand all the dynamics of RL but there was a very profound desire within me to choose RL. When I left home I was convinced that I was embarking upon a life-long journey with the Lord in the Dominican Order.

What has sustained you thus far on your journey?
My deep faith in God and my personal moments of prayer. From young I always trusted God. Prayer has always been my deepest and most enlightening source of strength. Community has helped me to keep my focus. As a consecrated woman I am ever more conscious of the prophetic mission entrusted to me by the Church and our Congregation. I am blessed with life-long friends and a supportive family all of whom help to sustain my vocation.

Please Share the various Apostolates in which you are involved.
I have been in the teaching profession for about 25 years and presently I am a teacher at Nelson Street Girls’ R. C School in Port-of-Spain. I was teaching there before I went to Training College. Because I enjoyed my years there I requested a transfer back to Nelson Street. I believe that my mission as a teacher is vitally important to the Church and our Congregation because while I educate I also evangelize.

During my free time I work with a group of young boys -Tomorrow’s Vibrant Youths- in the parish of St. Joseph.  I also dedicate some of my time to the Catholic Youth Commission where I assist in the planning of programmes for the youth in the archdiocese. During the crunch months of the CXC’s CSEC exams I assist students with English, Integrated Science and History.

I am also responsible for the aspirants of our Congregation. I meet with the young ladies who are interested in RL or searching to discover their vocation once a month. I expose them to the history of the Congregation and various spiritual exercises. Lastly, three times a year I plan activities for the senior sisters of the Congregation.

Would you like to share your achievement(s)?
As a teacher I am exposed to many courses in various areas of Education and I try to keep abreast with current trends in the Education field. I attained a Master in Education. However, I must mention that I also attended the Bible School in Caroni and the experience there was just what I needed for my journey in life. It helped to strengthen my faith and it allowed me the opportunity to explore and savour the sweetness of the word of the Lord. These have been my most outstanding achievements.

What do you do in your spare time, your hobbies?
I enjoy reading, sewing, cooking, craft and hiking.

What do you think has been the role of Consecrated Women in the Church 
I believe that RL enriches the Church. It adds a particular charism to the Catholic Church. My life is entirely dedicated to God and the church through the public profession of my vow. The specificity of my consecrated life is the sign that Jesus is still present in the world. I consider my Foundress- Mother St. Dominic of the Cross- a prophetic pioneer of her time. I believe that consecrated women are called to be prophetic pioneers. Like our founders we must be deeply anchored in prayer and have a keen sense of what is happening in our world if we are to effectively proclaim the message of Christ. It is not a mere trifle but an emphatic and serious mandate.

Do you think that societal changes have impacted on RL?
In a culture that increasingly tends to trivialize human love and respect for mankind I would say, yes. New technology is virtually competing with traditional culture, values and religious symbols. It has spawned numerous institutional changes, reshaped our thinking and how we view the world and it will continue to grow in complexity. In the light of these changes we are called to be proactive and I think that the dynamics of how we evangelise and witness must change.

Twenty eight years ago when I decided to enter RL, life was simpler and there were much less detractors. Today, the digital age, has made the farthest reaches of the earth more accessible. Technology is accelerating social changes worldwide and this is impacting on Congregations. The dearth of religious vocations and the challenges of modernism fires me like our Father, St. Dominic, to want to set the world on fire for Christ.

Is there anything that you wished you could have done and have not, so far? 
I have always had a desire to travel to India, Spain, China and Africa. I think this desire stems from the fact that I am interested in culture and various art forms.

Is there any piece of scripture that you use as a point of reference?
I hold four words before me, “Your Will Be Done” This is my motto. When the angel Gabriel visited Mary she responded, “Let what you have said be done to me.” Also, when Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane he said, “If this cup cannot pass by without my drinking it, your will be done!”

Do you have any unforgettable experience that you would like to share? 
I recall three sisters died within three months and the following year another sister died. Two of these sisters died young. Even though they lived under the shadow of death (battling with cancer) and they became immobile they continued to witness to the faith that they professed because their greatest comforter was prayer. These deaths had a significant impact on my life. I became ever more convinced that it is in this life that we are called to walk by faith. I know nothing of tomorrow!

Is there anything or any person that has had an impact on you?
As a teenager I used to participate in many weekend retreats under the direction of Fr. John Theodore CSSp. and Sr. Therese Dookeran OP. These retreats facilitated reflection in solitude, spiritual guidance and self-discovery.  They also brought into sharp focus the teachings of the Catholic Church.

What would you advise a young person considering RL now?
I believe a young person entering RL must have a commitment to prayer and reflection. It is vitally important to set aside time each day to meditate on the Word of God and to listen to His voice. Make Christ the main focus of your life and build the edifice of your existence on Him.

Also, active witness is very important, therefore, one should possess boundless energy for service. Some young women continue to question themselves and they are finding it difficult to make a commitment. I think that the element of risk is always present when you have to make any commitment. Once you trust God you will be able to take the risk. Risk taking can be positive. Put aside all anxious thoughts and God will guide you and give you unfailing strength. If you want to know the best time to serve the Lord, begin now. It is the present time, the now moment. Offer yourself with fervour and diligence and don’t worry about tomorrow

If you are still confused seek spiritual guidance from your Priest or a Religious Sister. It is also good to find out about all the Congregations. For example, the charism of the orders and the various apostolates that the Orders are engaged in both in Trinidad and Tobago and abroad.

Sr. Sandra ended with the following prayer for anyone considering Religious Life: May you, like St. Catherine of Siena, feel compelled and emboldened to preach the gospel wherever you may find yourself!


The Rosary is a great way to help deepen our Catholic Culture and Identity and we can do it right at home.

The benefits of making the Rosary a family prayer are:
  1. All members of the family can be involved. The Rosary begins with the sign of the cross, continues with the Apostles’ Creed, goes on to prayers for the Pope’s Intentions and brings us to the five decades of each Mystery (Joyful Mystery, Sorrowful Mystery, Glorious Mystery and Mystery of Light). Each Mystery can involve eight persons. If children have a role to play, they will prepare for it and participate in it more fully.
  2. Make it personal. Each member of the family can have their own Rosary. They can use it any time they wish.
  3. Set the tone. Create a special prayer space at home. Decorate the prayer space with a beautiful cloth, a candle, soothing music, a crucifix, a bible and any other holy icon that may help. Young children will quickly learn that prayer is different from other activities. Set aside a special time each day for a family rosary. Don’t make it stressful. Choose a time, perhaps in the evening before the dinner, when everyone can be present and participate. Your family prayer can then lead you into your family meal.
  4. Patience. It takes time for everyone to become comfortable and appreciate prayer. Adjust for those who have a different pace.
  5. Wonderful catechesis. The Rosary is a wonderful catechetical tool. Young children will learn the Our Father, the Hail Mary, the Creed, the important events in Jesus’ life and the special moments in Mary’s life.
  6. No time like the present. Start today.   

Monday, 6 June 2011

CCSJ Opens its Door to All

The Catholic Commission for Social Justice (CCSJ) on Wednesday 1st June opened the floor to the suburban vicariate in St. Charles, Tunapuna. The forum hosted by Leela Ramdeen proved only to be a taste of the CCSJ's plan to introduce a social justice committee in every parish in Trinidad and Tobago.

Social Justice, that is an institution based on the principles of equality, solidarity and the understanding of the values of human rights is based on the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas.   Leela Ramdeen stressed that Social Justice is the foundation of Catholic culture and identity, that is this year's pastoral priority. Thus the topic, should be studied by those who are truly interested in revitalizing their Catholic culture and identity and sharing it with the wider community.

As Catholics we value the life and dignity of the human person. Despite class, race or position, all human life is sacred. To quote Leela Ramdeen on her speech last Wednesday, "As a people of life we are responsible for all life."  We must also have preferential option for the poor and vulnerable in our society and communities. Remember, Mathew 25:40 "And the King will answer, "In truth I tell you, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me."

The poor and vulnerable are those who are easily suppressed and oppressed by the evils of our society. Should we ignore or forget about them, we will be doing no better than those who take full advantage of them. Reflect on the story of the Good Samaritan, taken from the Gospel of Luke 10:29-37

29 But the man was anxious to justify himself and said to Jesus, 'And who is my neighbour?'
30 In answer Jesus said, 'A man was once on his way down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell into the hands of bandits; they stripped him, beat him and then made off, leaving him half dead.
31 Now a priest happened to be travelling down the same road, but when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.
32 In the same way a Levite who came to the place saw him, and passed by on the other side.
33 But a Samaritan traveller who came on him was moved with compassion when he saw him.
34 He went up to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them. He then lifted him onto his own mount and took him to an inn and looked after him.
35 Next day, he took out two denarii and handed them to the innkeeper and said, "Look after him, and on my way back I will make good any extra expense you have."
36 Which of these three, do you think, proved himself a neighbour to the man who fell into the bandits' hands?'
37 He replied, 'The one who showed pity towards him.' Jesus said to him, 'Go, and do the same yourself.'

Would you do the same if you saw anyone in need?  

What the Samaritan displayed was an act of Social Justice. He assisted the vulnerable man and ensured that he was brought back to full health. The unnamed Samaritan also restored the dignity of the Jewish traveler by assisting him in his time of need.

As Roman Catholics we must reach out, mentor and assist those in need. We must take note of what is happening in our country, be conscious of the ills and do good. by not being proactive we as a people are allowing what is bad in our world to spread even more and it affects us as a people as well.

Another way to practice Social Justice in our parishes and communities is to encourage our young ones to do what is right and support those who are trying hard to bring about good change.  Its is not just about being participants but practitioners as well.    

This is just the icing on the cake of what Social Justice is about as it is such a broad topic but it plays a very fundamental role in our Catholic Culture and Identity.

So how do you think you can make a difference to your community?

For more information on the Catholic Commission on Social Justice check out the website at http://rcsocialjusticett.org/2.0/

Saturday, 4 June 2011


Our local readers are aware that on June 1st 2011 the Archdiocese of Port of Spain began the second phase of the Synod Implementation under the title: “Revitalizing Catholic Culture and Identity”. While we focus on one area, at a time, of the Synod Implementation process, we cannot ignore the other areas of: “New Evangelization” and “Regenerating the Moral and Spiritual Values of our Society”.

Our Synod life and World Youth Day expectations walk hand in hand. Zenit news, quote the Spanish Cardinal Antonio Rouco, who said that this World Youth Day will be the beginning of a deep ‘moral renewal of society’.

The Church expects this World Youth Day event to be of a special missionary nature inspiring a strong apostolic commitment among the young people under the sign of the New Evangelization that Pope Benedict XVI has spoken of so often.

The goal of World Youth Day is to encourage young people to live their lives deeply rooted in Christ, and to live all aspects of their personal, profession and faith lives in Christ. The young people are the ones who will be able to begin the path to a deep moral renewal in society, and in the end, it is this generation that is called to undertake a true social, cultural and political reform.

We have high hopes and deep aspirations for the delegates going from Trinidad and Tobago to Madrid. Without a doubt they will hear the call for this renewal. They will share in the burning desire of others who want to see a new world. They will return with new zeal, more ready than ever, to embrace the Synod call to “New Evangelization”, “Revitalizing Catholic Culture and Identity” and “Regenerating the moral and spiritual values of our society”.  

We trust that their deep experience of the Lord, while on pilgrimage, will inspire each one to accept responsibility for a personal commitment to the call to a “New Evangelization”, a “Revitalizing Catholic Culture and Identity” and  a “Regenerating the moral and spiritual values of our society”.