Santa Rosa/Malabar pilgrimage to Gasparillo
Parishioners of the Santa Rosa/Malabar cluster answered the call and invitation of a pilgrimage to Sacred Heart RC, Gasparillo July 9 for a day of praise, worship and healing by our moderator, Fr Steve Duncan. Fr Duncan had the Word placed on his heart after the Cluster’s celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday on April 23. He shared that with his parishioners and issued the invitation. Joining us were parishioners from La Horquetta, Maloney, Tunapuna, Curepe, Maraval and Siparia.
The day’s proceedings started with praise and worship led by the parish choir. Fr Duncan then delivered the first presentation under the theme Let go and let God.
Drawing on his recent experience of the unexpected illness and death of a close relative, Fr Duncan compared the practical aspects of organising the elements of the funeral arrangements and the practical aspects of our relationship with God.
He shared how he found himself in a situation of tension at the hospital between his belief in God and medicine. His faith told him “God is able. God is good all the time.” So he expected healing of his relative. The doctors told him otherwise. As days passed with no improvement, his prayer became “God you are in charge, your will be done.”
With the death of his relative came the practical aspects of the funeral arrangements and returning the body to Tobago. Tropical Storm Bret intervened together with the ongoing problems of the Tobago airbridge and seabridge. Eventually all was sorted out. Out of the experience, Fr Duncan said the lesson for him was: “Allow God to be God. Allow God to show his power. Allow God to show his strength.” He advised those gathered to make our requests to God and if God sees our need is real, He will come through for us.
Returning to the day’s theme, Fr Duncan said that to let go is to let go of our fears, insecurities, things real or imagined. If we let go and let God, we can allow God to minister to us through His word; we will gain an experience of His action in our lives and we can have great rejoicing in His midst.
After lunch, we returned to listen to the dynamic presentation by Janet Chinnia, principal of a Catholic school, former teacher and active catechist in the Tortuga parish. Quoting from the Gospel of John 11:40 “Have I not told you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?” Chinnia continued where Fr Duncan had ended earlier.
Chinnia focused on the belief aspects of our faith. She regaled us with some hilarious stories and testimonies of how faith had led to the actualisation of needs in her life and the lives of others. She also told us of how using her various roles as teacher, principal and catechist enabled other people to make positive changes in their lives and so bring glory to God.
Chinnia said, “We have to let go of our prejudices. If we love someone, we believe in him/her. In like manner, if we love God we have to believe in Him”. She added, “When we allow things to become our god, there is no space for the big God. Believing is not within the walls of the church. We have to take our belief outside those walls. We must take example from the early Church who stood up for what is right; so must we.”
In conclusion, she added that what we eat, we become. So it is with the Body and Blood of Christ; we are strengthened and enabled to go out and proclaim and live God’s Word which will enable us to see the glory of God.
The celebration of Mass brought the day’s proceedings to a close. Concelebrating with Fr Duncan was Fr Jose Marie Thekkekutte, parish priest of Tortuga, assisted by Deacon Paul Bousignac. – Deborah Singh-Boos