Archbishop Jason Gordon has called on Catholics to put aside their fears, trust in the guidance of Mary and become saints. He believes through personal conversion, respect for others can be restored and change will occur in Trinidad and Tobago.
The Archbishop of Port of Spain issued the challenge while speaking to a crowd at Archbishop’s House for the recitation of the rosary to mark the midway point of the 40-day Rosary for Life which began July 31 and culminates September 8. The Emmanuel Community spearheaded the initiative focusing on prayer intentions for the unborn, children of the nation, the family, the nation and the Catholic church.
Catholics should live as “beloved disciples” taking Mary into their home and ask for the grace needed for conversion of hearts. Archbishop Gordon said, “The salvation of our nation will come from depths of Christian living in obedience to our Lord and do whatever He asks.”
He said people must pray for police and prison personnel on the frontline in restoring law and order in the country because they put their lives in peril every day and were facing “mounted attack”.
Archbishop Gordon commented that the mayhem the country is experiencing was due to the stronghold, i.e the criminal elements being “rattled”.
“We must pray for conversion of hearts”, Archbishop Gordon again urged. He referred to St Juan Diego of Mexico who obeyed Mary, telling the gathering that in following the will of the Lord, and doing whatever Mary asked, the nation could not be the same. “It will be changed; it is being changed. And a renewal will come to our land and something of a new springtime will well up and something of a new hope will emerge and people will see the salvation of our God,” he said.
In highlighting developments occurring after the 40-days had started, the Archbishop joked he felt as if prayers were “on my head”. The push by Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish San Fernando for the establishment of mediation centres in all vicariates has his support. He said these can create spaces for resolution instead of blame, shame and disrespect. Archbishop Gordon said a committee established by Archbishop Emeritus Joseph Harris to look at assisting first time offenders came to him three times. Having past experience from working with Marian House, he said what was required for the project would not be easy and it would also have to be under the National Security Ministry. Archbishop Gordon disclosed receiving information from different government sources interested in seeing the project happen and was approached with a “concrete offer”. Ultimately, he asserted “Lord if this is what You want, I will go with it, with everything I have”.
The non-violence initiative from a few years ago was even more relevant today. To build a culture of peace, non-violence has to begin at the individual level. He said this was the message of Our Lady of Guadalupe, in the profound respect she has shown. Archbishop Gordon suggested the challenge facing Catholics was not external—the violence in society but the unbelief within.
“We do not believe God has called us to be saints,” he said. Fear was blocking out God and keeping mediocrity and foolish behaviour continuing and as a result “we have not taken possession of the Kingdom it has pleased God to give to us….”
Recalling the support and encouragement Our Lady gave to St Juan Diego of Mexico, he said, “If we are worried and afraid we will not say yes to God but if we know Mary is with us and the Lord is with us what are we afraid for, why are we holding back on God and why are we holding back on doing everything we can to live like a saint ?”
The Catholic News spoke to a few attendees about their participation. Gulf View resident Jenifer Miguel believed the country needed prayer while Richard Boucaud from Diego Martin agreed adding that he would like to see more youth involved projects that are “more dynamic”. Present were some young people, including 19 year old John- Paul Cabral and those who accompanied family members.