Four new RC priests ordained - EntornoInteligente /

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

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