ARCHBISHOP Jason Gordon has urged students of Fatima College to rise to the vocation of teachers and for all citizens to find their God-given vocation.
He was speaking Friday evening at the Fatima College 75th anniversary mass held at the school, Mucurapo Road, Port of Spain.
He said many teachers had given their lives for generations of boys in this college and he encouraged the young men to take up this vocation.
“The Catholic school is here not to babysit children through the years of secondary school. But the core business of Catholic schools is formation - formation of disciples. Of helping young men to hear and live their vocation. That is the way that a society, a nation will prosper.
“Because when every citizen lives what God has called them to the whole land will experience an abundance of grace and of giftedness. And there will be integrity and there will be joy and we will care for those in the margins, and we will see each other and treat each other as brother and sister.”
He noted Fatima was born out of a need for more secondary schools and was started by Archbishop Count Finbar Ryan. He asked those who had the privilege of attending the school to stand. When someone shouted that Fatima came out of CIC Gordon, a former student, quipped: “Is one time the child became better than the mother.”
Gordon recalled when he was in form five looking out the window of the chapel and contemplating for 15 minutes the question of if he would become a priest. He said after the 15 minutes he “knew” the question had not come from God because a priest had to study a lot and he was (and is) dyslexic, priests could not have girlfriends, and he had one at the time, and priests could not have a wife or children.
He said after hearing the voice more times than than the biblical Samuel he realised it was God and urged those in attendance not to put limitations on the call of God.
“And you (Fatima students) have the advantage of my story and Samuel’s story and so many others. There is something that God is you in your life. You’ve come to Fatima - and that is a grace in itself and it makes you privileged of all young men of this country.”
He explained they were a select few group to go to schools that understand tradition and are able to do a formation.
Gordon said the last 75 years of Fatima have been amazing but it was a time of incredible transition due to the acceleration of technology.
“Education today will not be like this in the next 25 years.”
He lamented however that the acceleration of technology was creating a void in the human spirit, human spirituality and in living for God through a vocation.
He said some from Fatima heard the call to be priests while other heard the call to do other amazing things like being architects or doctors and working to help people. Gordon said his his oldest friends were from the school and so many have worked to help the poor and engage in service to build a better society.
“That is what we hold in common.”
He thanked God for the blessing of late former principal Clive Pantin and said this visionary helped changed the school for the better.
He said he prayed the next batch of teachers, principals, priests and young men would take this land and make the nation a much better place.
He added that if all people lived their vocation the church would be a better church and the country a better home for all people.
Fatima principal Fr Gregory Augustine in his welcome remarks recalled the Vicar General Fr Martin Sirju challenges the school at their prize-giving ceremony in November 2019 to be not merely a Catholic school in name or high achievers academically.
“But we must be known as Catholics by the manner of our lives. It is fitting therefore that we begin this year commemorating our 75th anniversary in this manner - praising God for all he has done and will continue to do for us in the future.”
Among the clergy at the mass were former Archbishop of Port of Spain Joseph Harris and Superior General of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit Fr John Fogarty from Rome.
Also in attendance were House Speaker Bridgid Annisette-George and her husband, Finance Minister Colm Imbert and his wife, Education Minister Anthony Garcia and his wife, National Security Minister Stuart Young, Trade Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon, Port of Spain Mayor Joel Martinez and former Miss Universe Wendy Fitzwilliam.