September 14, 2017
BY TONI CASHNELLI
Br. Chris MeyerThree months before the big day, Br. Chris Meyer is knee-deep in planning.
On Dec. 9, Catholics in northwest Jamaica will kick off the 50th anniversary of the Diocese of Montego Bay with a jubilee Mass at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral. As Director of the Office of Communications and Media, Chris is the man in the middle of an outreach effort that includes original songs, commemorative wristbands and the national fruit of Jamaica.
They’re going all out.
“We have tried to approach this in many different ways of how to engage people on different levels, trying to reach all age groups,” Chris says on behalf of a jubilee committee composed of lay people from different generations and backgrounds, “a good mix of the diocese.”
To start with, “We’ve ‘re-branded’ a new diocesan crest that’s been freshened up, livened up” to be a bit more bold, “and we created a new ‘vision statement’ for the diocese.” It urges the faithful to be “light in the darkness of a broken society and salt in the lives of people seeking wholeness,” what Chris calls “key elements in the diocesan vision of how we move forward” as expressed by Bishop Burchell McPherson. Each family in the diocese has received a prayer card with the vision statement on one side and a prayer for the jubilee year on the other.
Nov. 30, 1967: Edgerton Clarke, second from left, becomes the first Bishop of the new Diocese of Montego Bay; far left is John J. McEleney, SJ, installed as Archbishop of the new Archdiocese of Kingston. PHOTO BY CHRIS MEYER, OFMChris hopes young people of the diocese will play a key role in jubilee observances. From 2000, then-Bishop Charles Dufour with the first SJB missionaries: Mark Gehret, Humbert Moster, Louie Zant and Henry BeckPHOTO BY CHRIS MEYER, OFMComposer Lord Laro (on the guitar) wrote the Golden Jubilee Song.Missionaries Humbert Moster and Louie Zant in Savanna-la-mar1 - 6<>
Chris designed an anniversary logo on which is emblazoned a catch-phrase that will be printed on t-shirts, coffee mugs and wristbands: “50 Years of Grace: Renewal for the Future.”
Deciding early on that “music is very important” for the December Mass, they commissioned a Golden Jubilee Song – calypso beat, lots of “Alleluias!” – with a refrain borrowed from the prayer card: “Light in the darkness, in a broken society.” Several singers and the guitarist composer gathered in the diocese conference room to record the song, released online Sept. 6. (soundcloud.com).
Chris collaborated on a “light, catchy” song for the Youth Choir they plan to release as a music video. “It’s great to see the youth have some ownership with this.” They’re also sponsoring a quiz for those 40 or younger focusing on Church history, the history of the diocese and Scripture. “We’re having an art contest and program in which youth are given a song and invited to do a speech, dramatic reading, a dance, a poster, some sort of artistic expression to make it their own.”
And there’s more, like a series of videos Chris is producing. “The first one coming out within a month is an interview with Archbishop Emeritus [Edgerton] Clarke,” who served Montego Bay from 1967-1994 (and was later Archbishop of Kingston). “He’s a great storyteller. I asked him what was going on in the Church in 1967, what was going on in Jamaica that required a new diocese to be formed.”
If that’s not enough, “We still have a few more things in the works for our older generations and our young adults as well, ‘Theology on Tap’ kinds of things.” On the Kingston side of the island, a theater manager will provide performance space where plays focusing on faith journeys and the human condition will be performed and attendees can meet their bishop. “Another option we’re trying to pursue is doing some artistic gallery evening” with professional photographers providing local material. “It’s in process.”
Remember we mentioned the national fruit? “It’s one of the touchstone pieces that pull us together,” Chris explains. “At the Jubilee Mass in December, each mission church will be given an Ackee tree to plant.” Ackee fruit, with a consistency similar to scrambled eggs, is part of a Jamaican staple dish, ackee and codfish. The tree they’re giving is imbued with optimism for the future. “It will hopefully grow and bear fruit and be a source of life for generations to come.”
The history of the diocese, including the presence of SJB friars in Jamaica since 2000, is being compiled in a commemorative book to be distributed next year. “We asked each of the parish or mission communities to write where they’re at or what they’re involved in,” Chris says. Pastor Jim Bok of Mary, Gate of Heaven in Negril contributed 2,500 words and some vintage friar photos .
In reality, friars were here way before the diocese was formed. “The Province of St. John the Baptist arrived here in 2000, but friars have been here since the second voyage of Columbus in 1494,” Chris says. If you’re talking timelines, “Franciscans have a long history of serving the people of God and spreading the GospeL”
PHOTO BY Shutterstock.comArthritis is inflammation of one or more joints. A joint is the area where two bones meet. There are over 100 different types of arthritis, the most common forms being rheumatoid and osteoarthritis.
If conservative measures aren’t working and your pain is such that you’re losing daily function, it may be time to consider surgical options. The type of surgery you and your doctor decide on depends on the type and location of the arthritis, your age and overall health, and what activities you’re hoping to pursue after surgery.
September is Pain Awareness Month. Go to the Arthritis Foundation (arthritis.org) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (cdc.gov) websites for more information on Rheumatoid and Osteoarthritis.
– Michelle Viacava, RN
Your doctor may recommend altering your diet to deal with pain along with or instead of pain medications. Concentrate on fish, vegetables, and olive oil. Salmon, tuna and sardines are recommended. Spinach and broccoli are vegetables that could be helpful. Eat fruits such as blueberries, blackberries, cherries, and strawberries. Nuts and seeds are also known to have inflammatory-fighting ingredients.
The worst foods for arthritis are: Bagels, muffins, and pasta; sugar; french fries and other processed foods and trans fats; blackened and barbecued foods; and nightshade vegetables such as peppers and eggplant.
Interest Groups could shape the future
Getting involved in an Interest Group like Education could connect you to friars around the country.Interest Groups
But what if you’d like to create a Woodworking Friars group? It’s possible to do so by calling or e-mailing me with your intention to meet at least once during October, November or December. If there are five interested friars out of the six provinces who sign up, you’ve got a group. The groups do not need to be defined by work alone: there’s room for a lifestyle group, such as those who want to live more intentionally along the lines of the recent Ite Nuntiate document sent by the Minister General.
Some possible interest groups:
Al Mascia works with people at the margins; do you identify with this Interest Group?I hope that many friars from SJB might find this avenue a way to meet new brothers, explore a common interest, and give input to a new direction for our life. It can also help us educate ourselves on the similarities and differences that each province brings to the table.
Again, what are the steps to get involved?
Identify an Interest Group with whom you would be willing to engage. If the interest you were hoping for is not yet listed, please bring the topic forward!
Call/e-mail friars Mark Soehner or Dan Anderson with your interest, hopefully by Oct 1st.
Clarify if you’d like to be the Chair or a Participant.
Mark will bring your name to the other provincials. Someone will call you to connect you to the Interest Group of your choice.
— Fr. Mark Soehner, OFM
Send comments or questions to: email@example.com
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