|Special tribute to Linda Wyke - Nov 13|
|2011 - Features|
|Friday, 11 November 2011 12:27|
Loyal and Intelligent. Nurturing, Devoted and Admirable.
Wise, Young-at-heart, Kind and Energetic.
This was how friends of Linda Wyke described the southern catechist and parish activist, and thanked her for her years of pastoral work for the Church.
The genesis of the Oct 28 tribute began with the Wyke-influenced Word and Deed Catholic organisation, led by Merlin Boyce and based at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, San Fernando parish. With the approval and advice of parish priest Msgr Christian Pereira, others became involved in organising the event which was included in the series of events to celebrate the parish’s 225th anniversary. South/Central catechist Leonora de Verteuil chaired the organising committee.
The celebration began with a simple ceremony at the parish’s Catechetical Office, located beneath the presbytery in a space where the parish’s Sessions of Catholic Children Activities (SOCCA) programme is conducted.
Linda and Msgr Pereira unveiled a plaque above the entrance, renaming it “The Linda Wyke Catechetical Office and Resource Room”. Linda thanked everyone for the honour.
All were then invited to take the short walk to the nearby Bishop Mendes Auditorium for the dinner which began after praise and worship songs. Group representatives and individuals paid tribute to Linda, seated at the head table with Msgr Pereira and former RE Department coordinator Bernadette Price.
Among those thanking Linda for her influence in their lives and the life of the parish were Carol Modeste, Marva Bascombe, Claudette Gentle, Charmaine Cardinez (youth), Margaret Woods of Zion Community, who paid tribute in song; a representative from the Tabaquite-based Daughters of Jerusalem group, Carapichaima parish priest Fr Matthew D’Hereaux, Roma Chevalier, Sr Christian Araujo, OP, and Catholic News editor June Johnston, both of whom worked with Linda in the Religious Education Department (Archdiocesan Catechetical Office) years ago.
Friend and catechist WOMAN OF FAITH Teresa Morris - Mar 21 read a short history (view next article), highlighting Linda’s work for the Church, including the “Shaping Lives” series, a training programme for catechists, and her work with former Catholic News editor Fr Michel de Verteuil, CSSp in the Know Your Faith series. She also pointed out her work with youth and the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.
“Linda, we salute you. You have served the Church, the community and your family outstandingly well. We know that even now, you are continuing the work through quiet, meditative prayer – for the Church, the youth, the family, the wider society. Words cannot totally express the sterling contribution you have made to society. May God richly bless you and your family in the ensuing years. We love you; we thank you; we salute you.”
Linda addressed the packed hall before the meal. She said we should all live the time we have received to the fullest, and share our gifts and talents. “I have so much to thank God for. Thank you for all your good wishes. Thank you for your love and openness to God.” Presentations were made to Linda and Msgr Pereira, on behalf of the parish, as it celebrated its 225th anniversary of establishment.
Former San Fernando parish priest Fr Clyde Harvey, originally scheduled to speak during the meal, spoke towards the end. He congratulated Word and Deed and the organising committee for planning such a tribute, noting that Linda had “walked the talk in many ways over the years.” He thanked her for smothering him during his time at the parish, and mothering Fr D’Hereaux during his time there as his assistant. He also praised her for her “vision of ministry”. Stating that he knew at times Linda suffered because of her involvement in the Church, Fr Harvey said, “Linda, we thank you. You are a reminder that there are a lot of the laity we have to thank -- many of them women.”
Briefly explaining his late arrival – he had to speak at a function of the Anglican community – he joked that if the Catholic Church wasn’t the Catholic Church, we might all be praising the work of “Reverend” Linda Wyke. This drew some applause.
In closing Fr Harvey, who was also honoured for his National award, said it was good to have “a big splash” to recognise the work of people, but often the recipient went home to “the loneliness of their existence”. He urged all to ensure that Linda, whenever in Trinidad, would always “comforted and loved” with a place to stay.
Linda travels between Trinidad and Toronto, Canada, where her only daughter Michaela and grandson live, and where she receives treatment for an aging-related illness.
Entertainment during the function was provided by Felix “Pierrot Grenade” Edinborough and calypsonian Glenda Caesar, both of whom paid tribute, and violinist Anselm Walters.
A tribute to Linda Wyke
As delivered by Teresa Morris
Linda Wyke - a woman of faith, a qualified visionary in catechetical work. She was committed to bring all those with whom she came in contact into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ and by extension his mother, Mary. Her mission was to spread the faith to all, through her many training sessions for catechists, teachers, youths, young adults and even the formation of priests.
The Association of Catechists and teachers was launched in 1984 to assist and recognize the persons teaching in the Government Schools and she was also instrumental in creating a training programme to assist catechists and Catholic teachers in Government Schools. She created the “Shaping Lives Series” – a training programme for catechists and worked with Fr. Michel de Verteuil in the “Know Your Faith’ series. As Director of Religious Education, in 1992, she published ‘Sharing the Good News’: God’s Caribbean People’ and completed the work begun by former directors Fr. Carlos Roberts and Christina Araujo. These three together with June Johnston formed the Archdiocesan Religious Education Workshop.
Linda spearheaded and worked with a team in conducting a vibrant youth ministry for many years. Youths from many parishes were involved and many continued as youth leaders in their own parishes.
She was known for outstanding work with the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). Linda was instrumental in having a team from the Boston College come to Trinidad to enhance the work started by the R.E.W. She continued by teaching, counselling, supporting and helping the neophytes to develop their own spirituality and laying the foundation for the present team members to continue their labour of love.
Linda was also instrumental in the formation of young priests. Trained in catechumenate formation at the Boston College, North America, she was able to share her knowledge and faith not only with priests but with the AEC Bishops. She was Spiritual Directress of the ‘Precious Daughters of the Beloved’, Arima and another women’s Group,’ Daughters of Jerusalem’ at Tabaquite.
She was sacrificial in her love for the Church. Her focus was always on re-building Christian values in those with whom she interfaced.
Linda, we salute you. You have served the Church, the community and your family outstandingly well.
We know that even now, you are continuing the work through quiet, meditative prayer – for the Church, the youth, the family, the wider society. Words cannot totally express the sterling contribution you have made to society.
May God richly bless you and your family in the ensuing years.
We love you; we thank you; we salute you.
Young at heart
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