Forty years of Liturgy School (LS) and 151 participants from all over Trinidad and Tobago converged on St Charles RC Church Hall, Tunapuna, on July 31 to learn and to participate in one of the ten workshops offered annually at the school.
A similar number attended the first School of Liturgy in 1977. The numbers had significantly increased, nearly doubling the 80 odd who registered last year. It was interesting that about 70 per cent of the participants were attending for the first time. The organisers welcomed two participants from Suriname who came to see how to organise a school of liturgy for Suriname.
Liturgy school was a true reflection of the Church in T&T. The participation of youths this year was admirable as they contributed to all aspects of the school. They came with their instruments and provided sweet music for our liturgies. Peter Telfer and Mawasi visited and conducted a drumology during the lunch period.
Lectures this year were delivered by Msgr Michael de Verteuil, Frs Garfield Rochard and David Khan, Dr Everard Johnston, Br Paschal Jordan OSB, Felix Edinborough, Bernadette Salandy and seminarian Stephan Alexander. All delivered expertly on the theme Liturgy and Popular Devotions.
Tunapuna parish priest Fr Ian Taylor warmly welcomed the participants to the parish and even had a recommendation for the organisers to include lectures on apologetics to prepare Catholics as defenders of their faith and as strong evangelists. Msgr de Verteuil, Chair of the Liturgical Commission did the official welcome.
Gary Tagallie conducted the orientation session and explained the purpose of the school and what was expected of participants during the week. He stressed that the school was a place for study, prayer and work; a place where we all experience the community of Church in Trinidad and Tobago. It was a time to learn together about implementing good and vibrant liturgies in our parishes.
Archbishop Joseph Harris presided over the first of the evening liturgies and congratulated the organisers for sustaining the school over the 40 years. He endorsed the need for good liturgy in parishes and stressed that what we do in the liturgy must be lived out in our families, parishes, workplaces and society in general. Our liturgy, he said, must celebrate the life of the parish and the individuals who make up the parish. The liturgy cannot be divorced from the life in the parish.
This year parish priests were invited to spend Friday morning with their parishioners. Seven priests attended including Vicar General Msgr Christian Pereira. The panel of priests interacted with participants sharing their experiences of liturgy in the parish and what was expected of participants attending the school. Msgr Pereira emphasised that delivering good liturgy required planning and collaboration between the clergy and laity in the context of, according to Fr John Persaud, co-responsibility.
The concert on Friday (August 3) was its usual high standard, with participants drawing on their talents to entertain one another and at the same time give praise and glory to God.
The school ended on Saturday 5 with each workshop presenting their work in a creative way. It was evident that much was accomplished and learned. Fr Rochard celebrated Mass to close off the 40th edition of the School of Liturgy. – Gary Tagallie