The Christoforus Internaat celebrated its 50th anniversary last July with a thanksgiving service and reception. The boarding school in Paramaribo was established July 10, 1968 for young boys and girls in need of education, housing, care and guidance.
The service was held by Bishop Karel Choennie and included singing, music and dance by youngsters of the school.
Bishop Choennie, in his homily said that “Gratitude is not such a self-evident attitude. It must be learned.” Diocesan monthly OMHOOG reported that the bishop referred to the Gospel of Luke 17, in which ten lepers were healed but only one, a Samaritan, returned to thank Jesus.
Commenting on this, Bishop Choennie said “grateful people are a piece of heaven on earth, while ungrateful people are, as it were, a hell.”
The bishop thanked God for the Christoforus Internaat and for all people who have dedicated money every month for the operation of the school.
“Let’s give thanks, because this institute has a very important role to play in the development of the interior because often enough these people cannot participate in the common life and they are isolated,” he said. Bishop Choennie believed that the institute has an important role to play.
He added that he is more aware of it after seeing the school results. “And it is really to cry. It is a serious matter for all of us that we think about what we do with our schools. Of the 72 Catholic schools, only seven schools have more than 70 per cent pass rate,” he revealed.
Bishop Choennie also addressed the pupils: “Thank God that you can study here and do not say ‘my favour, I have to get up again, I have to study again, I have to go after the books again’. There are so many who have no place to sleep on a bed, who do not have a table to study.”
He continued, “So many of your peers come home and have to think for themselves ‘what am I going to cook, my brother is crying, my brother has not eaten… You do not have those concerns. You are free. And that may lead us to gratitude, that may also give us today an intention: I want to take care of my development for all those children who did not have the opportunity to study.”