After months of tireless preparations and anticipation, the day was finally executed and all Glory and thanks must go towards our almighty Father for allowing today's proceedings to be incident-free. Indeed, His grace is sufficient. The parishes of St. Joseph and St. Michael's joined forces, like last year, to celebrate the feast of St. Joseph which ideally is celebrated on March 19th across the board. The days proceedings began in St. Joseph R.C. church where Fr. Karol (St. Joseph parish priest) and Fr. Elton Letang (assistant parish priest for Barataria) led the devotions to St. Joseph. Following this, the procession was created in the streets and it slowly made its way towards the First Capital Park with the schools of the St. Joseph and Maracas, St. Joseph vicinities being represented in addition to the altar servers, participating priests, the patronal statue and the faithful. As the procession successfully arrived in the park, all comfortably took their positions as Holy Mass soon followed.
His Grace Archbishop Joseph Harris served as the Chief Celebrant with Fr. Karol Wielgosz, Fr. Gerard Tang Choon and Fr. Elton Letang all con-celebrated and in the spirit of communion, there was a joint choir which led the singing that consisted of members from Mt. D'or, the St. Joseph Senior Choir and Youth Choir.
Archbishop Harris began his homily by reassuring the faithful that even though his health state is not perfect, he is improving each day and that he and his family holds valuable memories in living in St. Joseph since his father served as the principal of St. Joseph Boys' R.C. School, his Alma Mater. He then got into the heart of his homily by stating that our nation "appears to be in a moral slide". "Allegations on all sorts, incident upon incident such as child abuse, lack of care and love in the homes" was what he had pointed out and he asked, "What does the Gospel say?" In the spirit of celebrating the life of St. Joseph, he explained that "Saints are given to us for our imitation", which means that in the same manner as those faithful men and women lived holy and virtuous lives, we too are called to live holy and virtuous lives as well and so, we must aim for sainthood. "St. Joseph was righteous because he always did the right thing even when it meant to be counter-cultural", exclaimed His Grace where he continued by reminding us that St. Joseph was "always obedient and was a faithful husband to the Blessed Virgin Mary because he did what God asked of him and that is to take Mary in as his wife and help raise their son who is Jesus".
As he continued preaching he urged the members of the congregation that we must allow the Holy Spirit to shape us and make the decisions for us in the same manner that St. Joseph did and through these acts we will be imitating the saints. He later shifted from talking about the patron saint and began by making the faithful aware that corruption is caused by our wrong doings. He used the analogy of travellers coming through the airport and instead of declaring their goods in the red line, they "cheat the system" and move through the green line, and from that he noted that "If we are people of faith, we must let God form our decisions" and so, when parents indulge in these "corrupted" acts in the midst of their children, they too (the children) will eventually engage in it and in order for this cycle of corruption to end in this nation, we must live righteous lives.
As he concluded, he said that 'it must be a commitment to have St. Joseph as a model and that our nation looks to us with hope because like Joseph we must be filled with righteousness. Change must come through all of us together and so, righteousness will spread'. With the powerful and enlightening words to leave everyone with food for thought he ended his reflection and the mass continued.
Following Holy Mass, all were able to mingle and share their refreshments with each other as the entertainment portion began to get under way. Mr. Errol Fabien served as the emcee for the entertainment leg which featured performances by the St. Joseph Boys' and Girls' School Choir, a dance and drama presentation by the St. Xaviers students, a musical medley by an Ecuadorian band named Kayna and parang legends, Nuestra Cosa to name a few. The children all had their moment of fun with the bouncy castle, the dunk tank, face painting and moments with their favourite television character (in disguise). Rain came down for a short while to what some people call it as 'blessings' and the curtains were closed on another St. Joseph Feast Day. If you missed out on anything surrounding the day of celebrations, you can check out the pictures HERE and you can also view an encore presentation of today's Feast Day Mass on Trinity TV on Wednesday March 19th at 7PM.St. Joseph, Pray for Us!
--B. Durham, 2014