What an Explosive weekend it was for the local Catholic Church! The 11th Annual Jesus Explosion took place last weekend at its usual venue, the Preysal High School, in Couva and it was headlined by Fr. Ian Taylor (The Spiritual Director) and Janet Chinnia (The Director). The weekend-long retreat featured appearances by Fr. Cornelius Phillip, Fr. David Khan, Fr. Godfrey Stout and Fr. Neil Scantlebury of the British Virgin Islands to name a few and the music ministry was directed by the JE’s favourite, G.R.A.C.E. Music Ministry who always complements the weekend with soulful and spirit-filled singing.
In keeping with the Mother Church’s Year of Faith theme, this year’s Explosion theme was quite appropriate. Taken from the Gospel of Luke 18:8, “But when the son of man comes, will he find faith on Earth”, many of the speakers touched on the parent theme in addition to putting their own unique twist to their presentations. Jesus Explosion’s Spiritual Director, Fr. Ian Taylor opened the festivities with the very first talk which focused on the parent theme which then followed a talk led by British Virgin Islands’ Fr. Neil Scantlebury who preached on “Whatever you ask for in prayer, with faith, you will receive”, Matthew 21:22. In his opening talk, Fr. Taylor reminded us that “Without Faith, it is impossible to please God”. He also paid particular attention to the rising legalization of abortion, same-sex marriages and even noted that the British society has intention to legalize Sodomy but in the name of faith of Jesus he reminded us that “Faith stands on the side of God no matter what the world does”. Fr. Neil of the BVI, who preached from the verse from Matthew’s Gospel, incorporated the concept of Faith and professed that “The Faith we are called to profess must not be separated from Church and daily living”. He explained that our lives must be lives of Faith in Jesus Christ and bring our families up in a life of Faith as well.
On Saturday, Holy Mass kicked off the day’s proceedings led by Fr. Godfrey Stout (Chaguanas) who ended the Liturgy with his powerful Praises that got the crowd pumped for the day. Following Holy Mass was an official address by His Grace, Archbishop Joseph Harris where he urged other churches of the Archdiocese to be on ‘fire’ like what is being executed at this event. A Special Appearance by Fr. Robert Cristo was made where he too lead the crowd in pleasing praises. The third talk was done by Fr. Cornelius Phillip who began his segment with HIS usual Praise and Worship and his rap. He focused on the biblical theme from James 1:3, “Testing our faith gives us endurance”. In a similar point he made at the CCR National Rally back in May, he reiterated that God is bigger than our problems and we have to say and know that God is in control and that every day, his mercy is fresh upon us. “The God I serve is always on time. You may have lost everything, but you still got Jesus”, said the dynamic preacher where he ended his powerful talk. Fr. David Khan who gracefully filled in for Fr. Trevor Nathasingh then preached on the note of Repentance. Fr. Khan acknowledged that “God always remembers the goodness that you do and forgets the repentant sins”. He also noted that “Our beginning was with God and our ending is either heaven or hell”. What is our choice?
Following the Lunch break, the afternoon was solely dedicated for Ministry with the Holy Spirit. Praise and Worship led by the San Raphael Youths opened the afternoon session and a multitude of young adults (including the ushers that put their duties on halt) swarmed the stage to join in on the electric and spirit-filled Praises, which set tone for the second half of the day. Sr. Janet Chinnia preached on “Did you receive the Spirit from works of the law or from faith in what you heard”, taken from Galatians 3:2. Sr. Janet challenged us that “We cannot be like the world but be like the Word”. Her talk went straight into the Holy Spirit Invocation which was led by Fr. Taylor, the San Raphael Youths and the JE Team. Members of the congregation were invited to be prayed with for God’s anointing. Fr. Ian Taylor later presented a talk based on the Eucharist (Luke 24:35) which set the tone for what is considered to be the climax of the weekend; The Adoration, Procession and Ministry with the Blessed Sacrament. At this point, the available priests process through the crowd (who are in circles) with Jesus, present in the Blessed Sacrament and it is an individual’s personal time with the Lord and word of knowledge was brought forth by Sr. Janet. This culminated the second day.
Sunday Morning kicked off with the recitation of the Holy Rosary and a powerful Praise & Worship session led by the San Raphael Youths. Following that were the workshops which focused on various topics including Defence of the Catholic Faith, Dangers of Modern Music, Gifts of the Holy Spirit, Spiritual Warfare and Pro-Life to name a few. In addition to gaining spiritual food from the talks throughout the weekend, these workshops aim to also sensitize individuals about other angles of the Catholic Faith. The San Raphael Youths were up next where they presented a skit with a message about Evangelization and Faith.
After the Lunch hour, the San Raphael Youths led the praises with G.R.A.C.E. once more and the final talk of the weekend was delivered by special guest speaker, Ms. Leela Ramdeen on Social Justice.
The Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Nicola Girasoli, who was adorned by last year’s opening night crowd, returned to close the weekend where he was the Chief Celebrant of the closing Mass and once more, left many with ample food for thought. “Remain like Mary at the foot of the cross”, said the Apostolic Nuncio stating that we must never give up on prayer and detachment from Jesus. Wrapping up his homily, he also noted that Faith comes only by working together. Celebrating his Birthday that day, the JE team presented him with a new vestment that imprinted the Cross with Local Steel-Pans as his Birthday Gift.
Another amazing Jesus Explosion Weekend in the bag, but if you missed the Jesus Explosion Weekend, you can look forward to the Jesus Explosion: Revival which takes place on Sunday September 22nd at Preysal High School, Couva. More info will be released in the coming months about the One Day Revival for the sake of those who may have missed the 3-day event!