Tuesday, October 9, 2012

PM Kamla gives RC church $2M for restoration of Cathedral

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Edited excerpt from PM Kamla Persad-Bissessar's speech at the Centennial celebration of the Mount - Sunday October 7, 2012:

At the age of 100 years, I am advised that the Monastery at Mount St Benedict is the oldest Benedictine monastery in the Caribbean and Central America with a history dating back to October 6, 1912 when three monks arrived in Trinidad and Tobago from the ancient abbey of San Sebastian in Brazil.

‘The Mount’, as it affectionately referred to by many who have found peace, solace and renewal in its environs, has always been a place revered for its tranquility by many people of various faiths...

Much of the conflict in the world could be eradicated if we spend more time listening and observing closely what is going on around us.

And this is why I think it appropriate to express our support for the Church and our recognition of the value of the Catholic Church to the national landscape.

The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Port of Spain, which is 159 years old, is one of the oldest in the English-speaking Caribbean and is a treasured historical landmark. In 1857 it was raised to the dignity of a Minor Basilica and was bestowed with special privileges.

It is a spiritual centre for many, a coordinating point for the various Catholic institutions that perform missionary work in and around the Capital city.

I am advised that the time has been long imminent for repairs to be conducted on the beloved Cathedral. There is structural damage to the church. Certain amenities and furnishings that are of historical and spiritual value are exposed to damage on a daily basis.

From what I have been told, 23 key areas have been identified for urgent repairs and these include the roof, bell tower and structural works. The total sum of the works identified is in the region of $70 million.
I take this opportunity to add my voice to those of others, in calling on the public at large to support initiatives for raising funds for these critical repairs. I also ask that the business community as good corporate citizens should come forward and contribute to this effort.

I fully support the view of the Archdiocese that the Cathedral is more than just the story of a building, but the history and experience of many people whose lives were born of their faith.

The People’s Partnership Government is prepared to do its part to support this most worthwhile endeavor and so I am pleased to present to His Grace the Archbishop of Port of Spain a cheque for $2M towards the restoration of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

Our objective is clear. We want to ensure that we continue to support the good work that is being done by our fellow national stakeholders like the Roman Catholic Church, and other Religious groups and bodies in Trinidad and Tobago.

So my friends, with these few words, please accept my sincerest wishes for your continued growth and influence, and my humble wish is that you continue being the moral monitor and conscience that guides us not only to development, but to true nationhood with all of our people, and all of our diversity, standing together as one nation.

May God continue to bless each and every one of you!

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai