Hail the Saints' 150th
A sounding of the national trumpet is in order to mark the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the Holy Ghost Fathers in Trinidad and the founding of St Mary's College of the Immaculate Conception (CIC) in the capital city.
The college, an iconic national institution, has produced its proud share of famous Trinidad and Tobago sons.
They include the first Governor General (Sir Solomon Hochoy), the first Republican President (Sir Ellis Clarke), and the first two T&T nationals to hold the prestigious position of Archbishop of Port of Spain (Anthony Pantin and Joseph Harris).
The selfless and principled contribution to Trinidad and Tobago of the Holy Ghost Fathers that St Mary's represents is worthy of national celebration and was recognised as such by President George Maxwell Richards who, in testimonial remarks, emphasised the instilling of values and the shaping of character.
Speaking on the theme of "Ethics, Morals and Values", at a celebration on Tuesday at the College's Centenary Hall, the President lauded St Mary's excellence in various fields over the years, which in turn has helped to equip the young men for life away from the shelter of the school.
Indeed, the lessons learnt at St Mary's have guided many of T&T's outstanding citizens, including eminent doctors, lawyers, public servants and businessmen, who can hold their own against contemporaries from far afield and, in turn, have played their part in the development of the nation, raising the standard of life of their fellow citizens over the years.
And that is thanks to the values they were taught at St Mary's by the Holy Ghost Fathers and the various teachers who joined them in the noble profession of shaping the minds of future leaders and exemplars of this country.
"In the world outside of the strictures of school such as CIC, how do we fare?" President Richards asked the current St Mary's student body. "Having been nurtured in an environment which inculcated moral values, do we then shed them as we shed a garment? The human condition places us in situations where choice is not always easy.
"I believe it comes down to responsibility," he continued. "As children, we long to become adults. When we get to that stage, we realise that we cannot, or ought not to, do as we please—a notion which we conceived in our impatience to be free of the dictates of parents and teachers. We find that every situation calls for choice on our part—to do right or to do wrong, knowing it to be so.
"This is where the values that we have embraced make the difference. We either yield to enticements of various sorts, including money, prestige and popularity, where nefarious intent can abound, or we take the long and sometimes lonely road towards achieving noble objectives that have, at their heart, being the best that we can be while uplifting other members of the human family," said the President.
Wise counsel which will be added to the countless sage advice that has passed through the halls of this noble institution over the last 150 years.
All hail the Saints, and may theirs be a justifiably joyful jubilee.