Reverend calls for churches to come together in a community of care
One noted role of the Church is to hold high the moral standing of society, but without co-operation, this may very well become a wish.
Knowing that the work must be done, the Most Reverend Charles Dufour, apostolic administrator of Mandeville, is calling on members to be steadfast in championing the cause of Jesus.
"This diocese marks its anniversary at a time of the highest rate of murder in Jamaica's recent history. Much of this stems from the weakening of the roots of our Judeo-Christian history, and more specifically, the teachings of the Catholic tradition."
Speaking at the 25th Anniversary of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Mandeville last Sunday, Dufour stated that figures showed that violent crime stems from weak or non-existent families, little exposure to religious education, and a culture that is indifferent to good values and attitudes.
"Now, more than ever, the Church in Jamaica and the Diocese of Mandeville must deepen our witness and teaching about the faithful, committed relationships between parents. We must redouble our commitment to strong faith-based education in all our schools. A strong Catholic presence must be evident in every parochial school and diocesan institute."
He further challenged all denominations to work together in harmony to the greater good of the nation.
"I pose an ecumenical challenge to all Christian churches and all persons of good will. There are numerous congregations in every community and town in Jamaica. Let us come together in a Community of Care, Christians who are strengthened by word and sacrament find ways to mentor the unattached, the weak, and the vulnerable."
The administrator added that one's efforts, no matter how small, must be shown.
"Even if you feel you yourself are weak and have nothing to give, offer friendship and presence in the ghettos, in the infirmary, on the street corner, the Parent Teacher Association, the police lock-up... Then be surprised at how the Lord will transform your mustard seed of care unto graces of justice and peace, and see the Kingdom of God rise up before your very eyes."
He encouraged, "It will not be easy, but we Christians know that we must expect to have to take up our cross as we follow Him. But we know that we do not carry our crosses alone. Jesus is there right beside us, helping to make our yoke easy and our burdens light."
Dufour made a plea to persons at every level to accept the call on their lives to serve.
"The priests alone cannot do the work that needs to be done. We need more catechists, more ministers of the word and the Eucharist, more evangelisers, more persons to work for justice and peace in their families and communities. As we look towards our second 25 years, I am sending out the call for generous persons to serve as lay-leaders in the Diocese of Mandeville."
He continued: "There are many who need to hear Jesus's message of the forgiveness of sins through the Sacrament of Reconciliation and learn of the possibility of eating His flesh and drinking His blood so to have eternal life. If our church is to grow, it must spread out across the Jamaican landscape, reaching people where they are in their homes and communities. In the Jamaica of today, Jesus has no hands or feet but ours, and we must step up to bring His message of good news."