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WE are the Church - Jun 2 PDF Print E-mail
2013 - News
Saturday, 01 June 2013 21:41
An energised Fr Cornelius Phillip FMI delivers his message up close at last Sunday’s CCR Rally in St Augustine. In a departure from the norm, he left the stage and walked among the audience during his talk. Photo: Raymond Syms.
An energised Fr Cornelius Phillip FMI delivers his message up close at last Sunday’s CCR Rally in St Augustine. In a departure from the norm, he left the stage and walked among the audience during his talk. Photo: Raymond Syms. PHOTOS

“The Church is not about us and them, but about WE...” Those words were spoken by San Juan/Mt Lambert parish priest Fr Cornelius Phillip FMI at last Sunday’s 38th annual Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) Rally. More than 2,000 people attended the event at St Augustine Secondary, held on Trinity Sunday as usual.Fr Phillip’s talk focused on the second part of the rally theme, “Let us be sincere in our faith and be concerned for each other.” (Hebrews 10: 22,24). “What does it truly mean to be concerned for each other?” he asked the large gathering in the school auditorium. He quoted Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI to help answer the question: “We are supposed to be a re-enactment of hope, faith and love for each other.”He emphasised that people must question whether they were truly concerned for their brother/sister, whether they were truly concerned Catholics. PHOTOS “It’s not only about praying for people. How concerned are we to lift each other up?...Becoming each other’s keeper should thus be one’s priority.”He said the faithful should not ‘fight down’ each other but should come together against the common enemy, Satan. The Dominica-born priest reminded the attentive audience that “all ah we is one family in the Trinity.” He felt Catholics were overly critical at times and needed to be more uplifting: “We need to be positive in Jesus’ name. We need to be patient with each other,” willing to suffer for one other. Fr Phillip encouraged the faithful to practise corporal works of mercy, including such works as love, forgiveness and charity. “Love should be our agenda. Love should be in our national anthem…. We must be there for each other in moments of trial. We need to be other-centred, not self-centred.” Moving onto forgiveness, he encouraged everyone to be “men and women of reconciliation”.

Participants during the healing session led by Rommel and Catherine Lawrence at the CCR Rally. Photo: Raymond Syms
Participants during the healing session led by Rommel and Catherine Lawrence at the CCR Rally. Photo: Raymond Syms PHOTOS

As he touched on the last corporal work of mercy – charity, he emphasised the need for persons to “seek out the poor and bring justice to the poor”. He explained that the poor were oftentimes helped from a distance and sent off with hampers, as opposed to being invited into homes, given a meal and shown the ideal Christian type of love. One woman demonstrated concern for Fr Phillip by offering him a napkin to wipe his face. In jest, he told the crowd, “Don’t you all start handing me napkins now!” The audience responded with a hearty laugh.

As he wound up his address, he challenged the gathering to use their “tongues” to glorify the name of God and to “stop the unity talk, and walk the unity walk”. He ended by asking everyone to hug those near to them and to sing “Lean On Me.”

The rally began with praise and worship by the CCR choir, joined for the first time by the music ministry of St Anthony’s RC, Point Fortin. San Rafael parish priest Fr Ian Taylor was the first speaker; his talk was titled Baptism of Faith. Fr Taylor touched on a number of issues, including the draft National Policy for Gender and Development. Members of Zion Community led the gathering in a time of Intercession before Fr Phillip’s talk. After the lunch break and some more praise and worship, a short healing session was conducted by motivational speaker/evangelist, Dominica-born, Barbados-based Rommel Lawrence and his wife, Catherine. The rally concluded with Holy Mass, with Archbishop Joseph Harris as the main celebrant. Concelebrants were CCR spiritual moderator Fr Wilfred John, Tunapuna parish priest Fr Reginald Hezekiah, Fr Taylor and homilist Fr Leslie Tang Kai. Rev Paul Bousignac assisted.In his homily, Fr Tang Kai urged the faithful to listen to and be led by the Holy Spirit. “When we do this, we will experience the Triune God….” He said when compared to countries around the world which had experienced disasters, Trinidad and Tobago was blessed and must be grateful to God. Before giving the final blessing, Archbishop Harris asked participants to bring one other person with them for the next rally. He also called on Catholics to bring others to Christ by the example of their lives.CCR chairperson Deborah de Rosia said the Planning Committee would consider a return to the Grand Stand, Queen’s Park Savannah, next year.

– with reporting by Renee Smith

 
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