Saturday, 17 December 2016

R C Archdiocese of Port of Spain - Parish of St. Mary's - St. James, Mucurapo, Cocorite - Part 1

Some years ago after staying at home  away from work to assist with family matters, I accepted a position with a parish in the Archdiocese of Port of Spain (St. Mary's - St. James, Mucurapo, Cocorite). 

When I started at the parish as the Finance Officer, it was during a period of transition in that a newly ordained priest of an Order had assumed pastoral responsibility for the parish.   Also this Order's Province was located in St. Elias New York, hence each of the brother priests lived in New York at one time or the other.

Being a newly ordained priest and coming from a charism which was different to that of the Spiritans or  Holy Ghost Fathers was a learning experience in the following ways and more:
  • Saints and Feast Days - The Carmelites commemorated the Feast days of saints, many of which were unknown to us. Thus, this was a learning experience for us and  we were all happy when there was frequent consultation between the sexton's assistant who was a lady, probably for the first time in the history of the parish and the down to earth priest who did not mind explaining faith matters, concepts and the application of same.
  • The experiences and theology of a newly ordained priest was freshly imparted  to us in his homilies and contained his experiences, many of which were amusing to us.
  • There was the formation of groups to allow for persons with different interests to participate in the church. In a short time, activities which had been conducted without many persons being aware of them, became classified as meetings and there was communication between groups and the parish, thanks to the experience of the newly appointed Parish Secretary who was more a Coordinator with respect to activities, meetings events, comforter to the persons visiting the  Parish to arrange for funerals, a rule person who wanted order in the office in the use of Forms being consistent, complete in the  information which it contained and accurate in spelling and who performed above  and beyond the expectations of the Secretary, especially with respect to ensuring that Father met his priestly obligations with anointing of the sick, visiting of the sick, confessions and other sacramental activity.  This was a demanding schedule in that there were 33 groups at one time; the office hours were from 1:00pm -5pm with Mass intentions for Mass which was held  almost every evening, plus retreats, meetings and such as was needed.
To get everyone on the same page, the "Secretary" who in her work life had been in "Records"  at one time and who held many other positions, was the originator of a meeting with representatives of the groups and the Parish Team to host " The Administrative Role of the Parish Group and the Office. This event allowed everyone to get to know each other in roles which were outside of their expectations and to give us, the Parish Office Team a chance to talk to everyone at the same time and to try out activities which allowed everyone to work through some of the exercises which were upcoming over the period and share information on our responsibilities as defined by the rules of the church or Canon Law.   While the link refers to Bismarck, the concepts are the same from RC parish to  RC  parish.
  • There was also learning about Lectio Divina, which was new to almost all of us. This learning  taught us about trust in God, in each other and I am now realizing, how to pray through things in times of change.
Jennifer N Bailey ~ email:
In 2004 I was appointed to the Finance Committee of the RC. Archdiocese of Port of Spain - St. Mary's Parish which is responsible for the geographical areas of St. James, Mucurapo, Cocorite.  During that time, the Parish introduced Stewardship of Time, Treasure and Talent, the renovation of the Church building which is located on 3 George Cabral St. St. James started and is in progress  at December 2016. I was priviledged to serve with several priests during that period of 2004 to 2015 who were appointed to the parish. They were Fr. Garth Eversley O'Carm., Fr. Gerard Tang Choon O'Carm., Fr. Henry Charles, Fr. Ron Mendes was appointed Administrator of  the Parish,  Fr. Alan Mohammed, Fr. John Persaud, Fr. Roger Paponette

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