In one of the largest ordinations to take place in T&T, four new Roman Catholic priests joined the presbytery on Saturday.
They are Fr Stephan Alexander; Fr Kwesi Alleyne; Fr Kenwyn Sylvester; and Fr Mikkel Trestrail of the Community of the Transfigured Christ (CTC).
Recalling that the largest ordination of seven priests occurred back in the 1940s, Archbishop Jason Gordon said the second-largest ceremony of five priests took place in the 1980s.
The last time the local Archdiocese witnessed priestly ordinations of more than two or three deacons was on December 6, 2003, when five deacons were ordained by then archbishop of Port-of-Spain Edward Gilbert.
Gordon hailed the ordination as a timely occurrence during what he called, “The age of the cross.”
The four were ordained transitional deacons on February 24 at St Philip and St James RC Church, Chaguanas.
Presiding over a special mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Port-of-Spain, yesterday, Archbishop Gordon likened the period between the 1990s to present—when only one or two priests had been ordained—to a drought which has now ended.
In the 25-minute homily, Gordon said, “It is 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 a whole trial and challenges.”
“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.”
The church was packed with parishioners who spilled into the courtyard.
Archbishop Gordon addressing the four priests, said “It is in this time that you are being ordained and it is for this age that you are being ordained…you are being ordained to be men that will lift the cross of Jesus Christ high and understand that there is no power or salvation except through the cross of Christ.”
His words were met by a smattering of applause and nods of acknowledgement from the congregation.
Gordon told the new priests, “Because we have chosen the easy way out, because we have chosen the soft options, because we have chosen comfort and privilege and prestige above the gospel of Jesus Christ, we have gone into the wilderness as a church and it is in this wilderness that you are being ordained. And it is for the people traversing this wilderness, that you will be ministers of Christ.”
Gordon said, “We are a people who are in crucifixion mode…a people in the desert and in this desert and in this moment and in this time, the priesthood has to be seen in a different configuration than it has ever been seen in our local church from 1941 to today.”
He reiterated, “This is the age of the cross.”
Cautioning against the various fiery serpents that pervaded the “desert,” Gordon said they came in many forms including those of individualism; sexual revolution and gender fluidity; lukewarmness and complacency.
Former archbishop Joseph Harris had lamented the lack of young men entering the Catholic seminary in 2015, which led to several foreign priests being brought in to serve parishes, while the increasing shortage of priests saw several churches sharing priests from neighbouring parishes.
In the last ten years, 12 new priests were ordained in T&T, including four ordained last August.
It takes approximately eight to ten years in the Catholic Seminary to fully complete the process to become a priest
LINK ORIGINAL: The Trinidad Guardian