Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 11th 2016 Contents The best way to measure
your progress at something
is the number of setbacks
and “failures” you have
had. If you have not failed
yet, chances are you are not
trying very hard.
Clearly, failure represents
opportunity and growth, not
deficit and loss. If you want to
get really good at something,
you have to fail at least a few
At age 54 I am sitting exams.
Why, you may ask?
Because I am studying with
an aim towards being qualified
to still work after age 60. This
is what drives me.
I have heard so many stories
of people who have retired and
just did not have the certifi-
cation or qualification to be
able to work for themselves,
doing part-time work or con-
home when I retire, if I retire.
The other day, I had an
online exam which I did not
pass/failed. Funnily enough,
I did not feel a sense of dis-
It is not that I did not study.
In fact, I was scoring high in
the practise 100 questions.
But having done the ex-
ams, I got an opportunity to
take note of the areas that the
questions focused on.
Luckily, I can go back and
take the exam again in 60
Would you believe that I am
terrified of taking an exam?
Weeks before the exam, I was
panicking, cold sweating, and
contemplating to reschedule
When I look back at my
years of study in my youth,
I did pretty good during sec-
But when I went onto
college after thinking that I
wanted to become a primary
school teacher and chose sub-
jects that prepared me to go
onto university, got my pro-
visional acceptance, I failed.
Why? I remember walking
home from college one cold
day in the UK and I was pass-
ing a primary school.
As I passed, I heard a voice
in my head saying: do you re-
ally want to teach children?
The question literally
stopped me in my tracks and
I responded; No, I don’t.
Well, talk about the self-
guilt. Parents spending so
much money for fees and liv-
ing expenses and I no longer
wanted to teach children.
So I failed. This experience
started my terrifying fear of
During the years, I would
only do courses that required
research or a verbal exam.
The thought of sitting in
a room with a clock ticking
away and having to write an-
swers to questions on a piece
of paper was enough to give
me sleepless nights.
But as I got older, I soon
came to terms with the phrase:
Success Lies in Seeing Failure
as a Tool.
I desperately tried to use
failure as a tool because I re-
guardian.co.tt Sunday, December 11, 2016
‘Many are called, but few are chosen’
Failure is a path to success
QUESTIONS ABOUT FAILURE
I came across the following questions which
I could ask myself when faced with failure,
big and small:
· What brought about the failure?
· How much of it is in my realm of influence?
· How can I use my influence to turn failure into
· What steps do I need to go through to try again?
· What can I do every day to ensure that my next
try is done more intelligently?
Get out a piece of paper and go through that
list. I have to be completely open and honest as
I ask myself each question. I will have to analyze
the answers carefully and implement them—try
not to procrastinate. I have to remember, failure
is an opportunity, not a burden. Be grateful for
a chance to grow. One person that knew about
failure intimately was Henry Ford. So much so that
he is quoted for saying the following: “Failure is
the opportunity to begin again, more intelligently.”
I will keep trying.
Would you believe that I am terrified of taking an
exam? Weeks before the exam, I was panicking, cold
sweating, and contemplating to reschedule the exam.
alised that I was
giving away my
power to an ex-
ternal event, and
success is about
learning how to
recognise why I
failed and how
I was going to
Recently people have been
asking whether or not the
reopening of the Sem-
inary St John Vianney
and the Uganda Martyrs
at Mount St Benedict sig-
nals a new era in local vo-
cations. While there has
been a modest increase
of young men studying for
the priesthood, that ques-
tion is difficult to answer at
In recent times, several young
men have shown an interest in
joining the priesthood and while
the Roman Catholic Church wel-
comes the move, it still cannot say
for sure that all would make it to
the end. Remember that saying
‘Many are called, but few are
That is why we, as Catholics,
have to keep praying for these
young men to stay on course to
their ordination. We have hun-
dreds of examples of men drop-
ping out at all stages of their
seven-year period of study. And
also, there are myriad of exam-
ples of priests actually quitting
the priesthood at various stages
of their career.
In the Caribbean, the church
has suffered tremendously and
is still suffering from the lack of
priests. Since not all priests are
cut out for parish work, many
find themselves in some very
awkward positions in the Arch-
diocese. Nowadays, there are
many priests who specialize in
particular fields and they can-
not carry out this work properly
because there is little choice but
to become parish priests.
Recently, Archbishop Joseph
Harris said, “Vocations are go-
ing up.” This due to the Vocations
Recruitment Committee, which
has been actively promoting vo-
cations to the priesthood.
He explained a myth that has
been around for a number of
years. He said the seminary was
never closed, because a seminary
was “not simply a building, but
a programme of priestly forma-
There are currently five Trini-
dadian diocese seminarians, four
Trinidadian diocesan pre-sem-
inarians, and seven diocesan
seminarians from the remainder
of the Caribbean. In addition,
seminarians from several reli-
gious communities also study
at the seminary. Asked when the
next ordination will take place,
Archbishop Harris said “in two
years”, but hastened to add “we
may ordain a young man for the
diocesan clergy sometime next
While the numbers are encour-
aging, there is still room for a lot
more young men to listen careful-
ly for that call whenever it comes
from the Lord.
Stymied by living in a secular
world with all its temptations, the
decision is very tough to make,
but there are young men out there
who have the temperament and
the drive to become priests, but
you must listen for that call.
In today’s highly tech-
nical world, the lure to
get involved is surely a
strong incentive than
becoming a priest, but
satisfaction and wor-
thiness might over-
power that urge and really, what
you want to do is help people—
prisoners, marriages in trouble,
counselling in many of its forms,
parish work, and a host of other
ministries which need priests at
So that we must give full credit
to those young men for choosing
to do the work of God rather that
of man and of course, its profita-
bility and status. \That is why as
good Catholics we must lift up the
lives of these young men to God
constantly in our prayers, to fill
them with the necessary courage
to make it to the very end.
Looking at the situation from
any angle we see hope, lots of
hope for the future of the Catho-
lic Church in T&T and indeed the
wider region. Let us keep praying
for continued vocations to do the
work of the Lord.
Vernon Khelawan is a columnist
for Catholic Media Services
Ltd (Camsel), the official
communications arm of
the Archdiocese of Port-of-
Spain. Its offices are located
at 31 Independence Square.
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