On August 28, St Martin de Porres, Morne Diable RC School recorded its 70th anniversary as an educational institution serving the community of Morne Diable and by extension, the national community.
To commemorate this most significant milestone, a special Anniversary Thanksgiving Mass was celebrated September 6 at the nearby St Martin de Porres RC Church.
It was indeed a moment of many blessings and grace, as the celebrants included not only one bishop, but two: Archbishop Jason Gordon was the chief celebrant while Bishop Emeritus Malcolm Galt was among the concelebrating clergy.
The others were parish priest and school manager, Fr Robert Christo, past student Fr Urban Hudlin OP and Fr Dexter Brereton CSSp. It was the bishops’ first visit to the school, parish and community.
Also in attendance to lead the music ministry was GRACE Music Ministry.
Adding to the historic and grace-filled significance of the occasion was the uplifting liturgy of the consecration and blessing of the new altar at the church.
For the occasion, the sanctuary was beautifully refurbished and a new and striking crucifix installed.
Logged into the history of the school on the occasion of the 70th anniversary was the bestowing of the Holy Father’s Apostolic Blessing. This was presented by the Archbishop to the principal, Tabita Auguste.
Following the celebration of Holy Mass, a short award ceremony was held during which presentations were made to a number of persons who had served the school in myriad capacities, coming on board over the last 20 years. The last ceremony of recognition was held at the 50th anniversary.
The awardees included former managers and principals, teachers past and present and school benefactors. Also honoured were past students who would have excelled in their specific disciplines over that time period.
Present at the Mass were some of the first students and teachers, among them the first to be enrolled in 1950, Romauld Nelson, now 83 years old. It was Nelson’s parents who had donated the land for the construction of the school.
In attendance as well, was 96-year-old Ora Hilaire, one of the first teachers appointed to St Martin de Porres.
Holy Mass was followed by the blessing of the school and its grotto by Archbishop Gordon. A luncheon, hosted by the school, followed immediately thereafter.
Later that evening, school, church and community collaborated for the staging of an evening of fun, food and fellowship.
The live, under-the-stars, concert-type production showcased the talents of the students, teachers and parents in pan and dance. There were performances too by past pupils and friends of St Martin de Porres, chief among them being the Trinidad and Tobago Prison Service Band.
These entertained an enthusiastic and appreciative gathering of the St Martin de Porres, Morne Diable RC family. For many it was also a grand reunion.
The entire day was one of immense pride, joy and a deep sense of gratitude for school, church and community. The red-letter event will be a talking point and one that will be remembered with a smile for quite a while.
—A planning committee member