As he spoke at the latest ordination of four priests on Saturday, September 14 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Archbishop Charles Jason Gordon described the current era of the Church as “a time of desert. It is a time where we have experienced incredible drought. It is a time where we have had a moment of the Church where the Church has gone through her own trials and challenges.” Clearly there was some relief in the drought as the packed cathedral constantly bloomed with enthusiastic applause for the four men taking their steps into the priesthood.
The Archbishop noted that the ordination of Deacons Mikkel Trestrail, Kwesi Alleyne, Stephan Alexander and Kenwyn Sylvester was the third largest in local Church history.
He spoke about the naivety and optimism that characterised the Church in previous years. Since then he explained, “We have raised a generation of young people who do not understand the Cross of Jesus Christ”. He added, “We have gone through a generation where we as priests, bishops, Church, religious— we have not put the Cross of Christ centre and square of the preaching of the gospel of the living of the faith and of the Catholic way of which we are the heralds and the stewards because we’ve chosen the easy way out, because we’ve chosen the soft options, because we’ve chosen comfort and privilege and prestige above the gospel of Jesus Christ. We’ve gone into the wilderness as a Church.”
Heralding a new era, the Archbishop announced that the Church was in the age of the Cross. “The Church will either embrace the Cross as the source of its salvation, or the Church will be dragged to the Cross against its will. This is the age where the Cross becomes central to all Christian life. Over the last decade or more, we have witnessed the crucifixion of the Church in the media and on the world stage.”
Directly addressing the four deacons to be ordained priests, Archbishop Gordon advised them to be careful of making the Mass a form of entertainment.
“There is one Mass and that is the Mass of Jesus Christ, and we as priests participate in this one sacrifice given to us by Christ and that is what you are called into priesthood.”
He also instructed, “You are being ordained to be men who will lift the Cross of Jesus Christ high and understand that there is no power or salvation except through the Cross of Christ.” He advised them to look to the Cross for guidance and allow Mary to reconfigure them into the image of her own Son.
As they offered their thanks, Fr Kwesi Alleyne thanked the members of their childhood parishes. “There we have encountered Christ. There we have learned what it is to give ourselves to service”. They also thanked the priests who had mentored them noting, “You have modelled priesthood for us”. They expressed their appreciation for the Archbishop, for his “spiritual fatherhood” and “genuine and attentive care”.
Fr Mikkel Trestrail of the Companions of the Transfigured Christ (CTC) Community, who is blind, took the opportunity to thank members of the disabled community who attended and for their support.
He expressed gratitude to everyone who came not only from distant communities in Trinidad and Tobago but from countries like Grenada, the Dominican Republic, Curacao, Barbados, Dominica, Guyana, Suriname and the United States. — Dixie Ann Belle