T&T Archbishop Exhorts Local Catholics to Serve with Values
By Gerald V. Paul
The 10th Archbishop of Port of Spain, His Grace Archbishop Joseph Harris officiated at Our Lady of Good Counsel Caribbean Catholic Church, in Toronto’s west end. Within the context of a Holy Spirit Novena, His Grace was the main celebrant at the Pentecost Mass last Sunday.
In an interview with The Camera, Archbishop Harris, the second local to be appointed to that position- the first was the late Archbishop Anthony Pantin – stated: “I don’t know if we will be able to stop crime by ourselves. For crime to stop we have to change hearts, and the only person to [do that] is Almighty God. We have to ask Almighty God to change hearts.”
He encouraged the faithful to continue to work towards getting Archbishop Pantin elevated to sainthood, thus becoming the first Saint coming out of the Caribbean. “Archbishop Pantin ordained me. Paraguay made me a priest,”
Archbishop Harris prayed to God about the increase of crime in Trinidad and Tobago. In that regard, he stressed: “Our problem is a lack of values in the country. The values which we taught many years ago, we have not we lived-up to, and the values of care and concern for others are all gone. We have adopted the values of a culture which talks about the self all the time. And so people have grown very selfish.”
The Honourable Rodger Samuel, Trinidad and Tobago‘s Minister of National Diversity and Social Integration had commented that the real solution for lawlessness in any society is the fear of God.
Accordingly, that Minister’s message to the recent Prayers Plus Symposium, Finding Solutions on Crime in Trinidad was: “We have to get back to teaching values and inculcating values. But our families have to be schools where values are taught and inculcated, and even the education system has to start teaching values again.”
The Archbishop added that one of the prime values is the supremacy of Almighty God.
With respect to the recent killing of prominent attorney Dana Seetahal, Archbishop Harris invoked “… the rule of law and justice for all, as we continue to fight criminality and corruption at all levels, high and low”. He continued: “Indeed, all our citizens must see this as a moment for recommitment to the service of our beloved country….Let us not be numbed into deeper complacency as we battle against crime.”
He then moved on to a broader perspective: “I would tell the diaspora: when one loses a sense of history, when you do not know where you come from or you forget where you come from, people can make you into what they want. So, it’s essential that the diaspora retain its identity as Caribbean people.”
Earlier on, the Archbishop had made an appeal to the faithful congregants: “We must understand the gifts and talents that God has given to us for the building up of the Church. And if everybody in this Church put their gifts and talents at the service of this community, I don’t think there will be a better or greater Christian community in whole of the Americas.” He went on, colloquially: “Rev. Fr. Guiseppi cannot do it alone. And what if he should drop dead today? Understand, I ent got nobody to send. What am I saying to you? You, this Caribbean community, you have to start giving vocations to the church. This Caribbean community must be able to send Priests to the Seminary in years to come, because I ent have none to send”.
Meanwhile, Rev. Fr. Guiseppi announced that the Sister Kathleen Jackman Memorial Scholarship Award Presentation and Live Dinner Theater Fundraising Event is scheduled to place on Saturday, June 21 at St. Roch’s Parish Hall on 2889 Islington Avenue. The Keynote speaker will be Father Vincent Onyekelu.