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Parang lovers should welcome Venezuelan refugees

Archbishop Gordon (centre) and Fr Black (back row, right) pose for a photo with Eucharistic ministers and altar servers from Santa Rosa, Arima Parish. Photo: Gerard-Paul Wanliss

Parang lovers attending the National Parang Association of Trinidad and Tobago (NPATT) 2018 festival were encouraged to search their hearts and assess their reactions and thoughts to migrants for it would be “hypocritical” to celebrate Parang music and not welcome Venezuelan refugees.

“Are we being a people of hospitality and welcome or are we causing scandal by closing our hearts and our doors to people who are in our country at this time?” Archbishop Jason Gordon asked as he delivered the homily at a Mass that preceded the festival’s launch September 29 at the Arima Velodrome. The festival, which culminates January 5, 2019 had as its theme From Nazareth to Bethlehem. Fr Dwight Black OP concelebrated the Mass with the Archbishop.

Over 200 years ago, our Venezuelan brothers and sisters brought with them two great gifts: an agricultural boom and Parang—music that is now an integral part of T&T’s culture, the Archbishop said. “…And if we celebrate that, brothers and sisters, we have to celebrate that the more recent arrivals from the same land will bring gifts to us and 200 years from now we will celebrate something of what they have brought to us and we will treat it then as if it was normal whereas right now we are treating it as if it’s something they shouldn’t be doing….We like the Parang music but we don’t want nobody from that place to come back here now,” he said.

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