Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 6th 2014 Contents Fr Harris knocks revellers' lascivious behaviour
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, March 6, 2014
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In his Ash Wednesday homily to mark
the start of Lent, Roman Catholic Arch-
bishop Joseph Harris yesterday reflected
on the two days of Carnival revelry in
which many in the congregation would
have been engaged.
In his sermon, he said if culture was the
excuse for the behaviour displayed by some
revellers on the two days of Carnival, then
culture has to be evangelised.
"It would have been a miracle if the
behaviour of some revellers had been dif-
ferent. Unfortunately, that miracle did not
"The lascivious behaviour being exhibited
by some of our people, in my opinion, has
nothing to do with culture and, if it has,
then our culture certainly has to be evan-
He told a packed lunchtime congregation,
however, that the evangelisation of culture
is an obligation incumbent on the church
and on every individual.
"Culture is not evangelised by staying
away from it, it is evangelised by entering
into it and letting the graces won by Jesus
Christ on the cross transform all in the cul-
ture, which is not in accord with the values
espoused by Jesus Christ."
In his homily, delivered at the Pro-Cathe-
dral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, San
Fernando, the Archbishop noted that the
behaviour of individuals was not the only
aspect of national life which needed to be
"The pervasive attitude towards corrup-
tion, the disrespect for life, the lack of respect
for the poor and indigent, and the attitude
of mind which says that the colour of a
person s skin is more important than the
content of their character are all aspects of
national life which need transformation,"
"You and I, my dear friends, because of
baptism and confirmation, are the agents
of that transformation. We can be agents
of that transformation, however, only in the
measure that we ourselves are being trans-
He said the transformation must also be
from the heart.
Using the words of the Gospel: "Take
care not to perform righteous deeds in order
that people may see them; otherwise, you
will have no recompense from your Heavenly
Father," the Archbishop also issued a warning
to politicians not to do good deeds just for
"These words of the Gospel are partic-
ularly striking because we are accustomed
to seeing politicians doing good deeds, but
always with a camera person recording what
has been done for posterity, or perhaps for
the next election campaign.
"We are accustomed to seeing the osten-
tatiousness in housing and transport, and
over the last two days we were bombarded
with images of persons doing all sorts of
things purposely in front of the cameras,
for the world to see.
"My dear friends, focusing on the exter-
nals does not allow us to build the internal,
and since any worthwhile transformation
of our nation will only be built on the trans-
formation of hearts, it is our responsibility
to ensure that our own hearts are trans-
The Archbishop noted that because of
the situation in the country, many people
were losing hope and leaving because they
had no hope in our future.
"Many parents are encouraging their chil-
dren to study overseas and not come back,"
he said, pointing out that there might be
such people among the congregation.
"In the face of all that is going on, we
are called to be persons of hope and to
encourage hope in others."
He reminded the congregation, which
included primary and secondary school stu-
dents, of the teachings of St Paul, and asked,
"How then are we to spend this season of
Lent, this favourable time?
"Each one of us must seek to be recon-
ciled to God, to remove from our hearts the
habits of sin, which are an obstacle to God s
grace in our lives. Let us all implore the
Lord our God for this land of ours, that he
may have pity on us and bring our land to
be what the name that it bears signifies;
Trinity---in diversity, a loving communion.
"This is our hope. It is for this that we
work. It is for this that we must pray."
The Government is supporting a proposal for
the Permanent Council of the Organisation of
the American States (OAS) to discuss simmering
tensions in Venezuela to ensure it doesn t re-
escalate, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dook-
eran said yesterday.
Dookeran spoke in the wake of recent protests
over the Carnival period in some parts of
The South American state seven miles west of
T&T has endured protests and unrest since Feb-
ruary 12, with clashes among students and sup-
porters of the Maduro government plus opposition
forces. The death toll from those unrests is 17 to
Last Sunday, as Venezuelan protesters marched
calling for President Nicholas Maduro to resign,
US Academy Award-winner actor Jared Leto (Best
Supporting Actor) mentioned both Venezuela and
the Ukraine, offering support to "dreamers" in
both embattled places, as he spoke onstage at the
awards ceremony, which was televised worldwide.
Leto said his band, 30 Seconds to Mars, had
had a show in Venezuela in the works and also
planned to play in the Ukraine soon. As a result,
he said things like social unrest affected his band.
Last Thursday, T&T regional ambassador Edwin
Carrington told a UWI forum that T&T ambas-
sador to Caracas, Anthony Edghill, had come to
T&T and was likely to have talks on the situation
Yesterday, Dookeran said Edghill had indeed
met with officials of the ministry and the Gov-
ernment was continuing to monitor what Dook-
eran described as the current "uneasy calm" in
Dookeran added: "T&T is also supporting the
Panama solution on the Venezuelan crisis, involving
a meeting of the OAS Permanent Council, to
discuss the situation and ensure tensions do not
Panama last week suggested convening an
immediate meeting for consultation with the
ambassadors of each OAS member state to ponder
the situation in Venezuela and draw initiatives to
help "find a solution through dialogue among
Panama s request is based on the OAS s charter
and the statutes of the Permanent Council, which
state that "any member state can request a meeting
of consultation to delve into the problems of com-
mon interest to the states."
Dookeran said the Government s inter-minis-
terial team in place locally---involving Foreign
Affairs, Finance and National Security and
Caribbean Airlines---will continue keeping tabs
on the situation in case any action becomes nec-
Fr Kenneth Assing, left, assists a member of the congregation in putting ashes on the forehead of another congregation member during
the Ash Wednesday Mass at the Sacred Heart RC Church, Richmond Street, Port-of-Spain, yesterday. PHOTO: SHIRLEY BAHADUR
That's not our culture
Dookeran backs OAS
plan for Venezuela
Archbishop Joseph Harris applies ashes to
the forehead of this congregation member
during yesterday's Ash Wednesday service
at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Roman
Catholic Church, Harris Promenade, San
Fernando, yesterday. PHOTO: TONY HOWELL
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