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‘French Mass’ helps others feel at home

“Holy Mass is a journey to Our Father’s home, where He always waits for us at the gate, to receive us with opened arms, so that we may exclaim as we attend Holy Mass and receive the Body and Blood of Christ: ‘Home sweet home!’. Indeed, the celebration of Holy Mass is nothing less than an encounter with the Almighty, a kind of returning to Our Father’s home.”

These were the words of Msgr Julien Kaboré, chief celebrant of the historical first Mass in French and English at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception last Sunday. Concelebrating were Frs Martin Sirju, Rodney Eugene of Haiti, and Emmanuel. Rev Lennox Toussaint assisted. Ambassador of the French Republic, His Excellency Serge Lavroff, and his wife Caroline also attended.

In his homily, Msgr Kaboré reminded the faithful to be mindful of the immigrants who left their homes to come to Trinidad and Tobago seeking work, study and refuge.

The Cathedral has long had an open-door policy with people from all walks of life entering its doors for various reasons. In celebrating this Mass, Catholics got the opportunity to deepen their understanding of this policy.

It is not merely concerned with having a literal open door, but also with offering a place that “felt like home” to all those who enter. In order to accomplish this, he said, “we need to be more creative in the way we regularly worship, for example, by celebrating Mass in another language”.

Une Messe Inaugurale en Français also afforded students and laity the opportunity to practise their French language skills. Present were foreign language students and teachers from Fatima College; Providence Girls’; St Joseph’s Convent, San Fernando; Presentation College, San Fernando; St George’s College; and members of Catholic Students’ Movement at The UWI, St Augustine.

Proclaming the Word in French were pupils of St Joseph’s Convent, Port of Spain; St Mary’s College; Holy Name Convent; and St Anthony’s College. Holy Name Convent’s choir sung hymns in French and English with accompaniment from Sr Kathy Joseph OP on the guitar and Jamal Winchester on the keyboard. Cubs and Scouts from Nelson Street Boys’ assisted with the collection.

In recognition of the International Créole Month, the song for the Sign of Peace was sung in Créole.

The small team who organised the event, of which Vicar General Fr Martin Sirju was part, expresses gratitude for the support received from volunteers or donors who contributed to the celebration of the Mass. – La-Quita George, organising committee member