More than 350 persons from bereaved families accepted an invitation from Fr Ian Taylor and the Ministry of Consolation (MOC) to congregate on November 20 at St Charles Borromeo RC Church, Tunapuna for the seventh annual Candlelight Consolation Mass.
Soft music filled the air, the glow of many votive lights and flowers in pastel shades suggested that something special was imminent. The choir, led by Marlene Greaves, ushered in Fr Taylor with the song “This little light of mine”.
He referenced 2 Maccabees 12:46 “It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins”. Father emphasised that the service was also intended “to help you to let go and release your loved ones unto the Lord”.
The selected readings were most appropriate: 1 Corinthians 15 :19–26; Psalm 23; Sirach 38:16– 23; John 14: 1– 4, 25–27.
In his homily, Father explained that death came into the world through sin. Jesus is the only man who conquered death and is alive and because of Jesus’ life and resurrection, believers who die in Him will also rise and experience life with Him.
Fr Taylor emphasised, that all will meet the Judge of all judges with death. He questioned, “Are you ready? Is there anything that you need to change?” He exhorted that we reflect on our lives and spend our time getting to know Jesus and exemplifying His life. He cautioned against waiting, as no man knows the precise hour of his death.
Fr Taylor then invited Lionel Castro to testify. Castro recently found himself facing the barrel of a gun in his own yard. Death seemed certain but he called on God from the depths of his heart and the Holy Spirit took full control. His attackers, despite their deadly weapon could not harm him. Castro reflected that coming to know Jesus had prepared him to call on God the Father in his time of crisis.
Fr Taylor urged the congregation to talk to God from the depth of their hearts, telling Him about their grief, sharing everything with Him. In closing, he stressed to the congregation the need to commit their loved ones to God and let the Lord lead them into His Kingdom.
A video was shared presenting pictures of deceased loved ones, including national icons such as pannist Ken ‘Professor’ Philmore, and calypsonians Winston ‘Shadow’ Bailey , Samuel ‘Brigo’ Abraham, and Winston ‘The Original De Fosto Himself’ Scarborough.
During the meditation, pannist Harry Headley played a medley of favourites like ‘Amazing Grace’ and ‘How Great Thou Art’.
The anticipated candlelight procession followed. Each family walked with their lit tea lights and released them into the pools of water, symbolic of letting go and releasing their loved ones unto the Lord. The powerful music of Philip Okafor urged them on.
Before the final blessing, Barbara Wafe, MOC’s team leader thanked all who facilitated the event. “Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted. Did you feel comforted tonight?” she asked. A resounding “yes” came from the congregation.
Many thanks and blessings to all who attended. Thank you for positive feedback and encouragement.—Mauelita Gomez-Thomas