Fr Assing’s Differentology: ‘We ready for the Lord’
By LARA PICKFORD-GORDON Thursday, February 14 2013
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LORD, HELP OUR COUNTRY: After receiving ashes, these two women pray during Ash Wednesday mass yesterday at the Sacred Heart RC Church in Port-of-Spain...
Persons attending mass at the Sacred Heart RC, Chruch on Richmond Street, Port-of-Spain were surprised by the sudden sound of someone’s telephone ring-tone with “we ready, we ready” from Bunji Garlin’s popular song for the 2013 Carnival season“Differentology.”
Persons attending the noon mass looked around wondering who forgot to turn off their telephone, and why it continued to ring loudly. As it turned out, it was Fr Kenneth Assing’s mobile phone, and he was trying to get a message to the congregation as he ended his Ash Wednesday sermon. He sang along “we ready, we ready” but instead of “we ready for the road” he added, “we ready for the Lord.”
He called on the large congregation to sing along “we ready” which they did.
Several persons were left standing in the Church at the mass which marked the start of the Lenten observance following the Carnival festival. Lent marks a 40-day period of prayer, fasting and charity (alms-giving).
During his sermon Assing made references to Carnival. He told the congregation that Catholics too had a Fantastic Friday and Dimanche Gras or “big Sunday.” He said the Fantastic Friday was on Good Friday. He asked the congregation what day the Dimanche Gras was. Some persons answered that it was on Easter Sunday. Assing said, “Easter Sunday is our big Sunday, isn’t that super?”
Looking at the history of the Carnival festival starting with Canboulay (from the French word Cannes Brulees, burning of the cane) when former slaves fought for inclusion in the Carnival celebration, Assing said the Lenten celebration could be “qualified” as a “Lenten Carnival” and “Lenten Canboulay.”
Assing said the “Lenten Carnival” was driven by both God and people, and there was a mutual want. He told the congregation, “you are here because you want something.”
He said “putting away of the meat” for Lent was an act of defiance and freedom which the Canboulay observance symbolised.
“The Canboulay which we know as a riot which took place, we transfer that, we re-interpret it in our Lenten Canboulay which is a riot in your soul.”
The riot, he continued, was in defiance of sin, and for freedom in God. Assing advised the congregation of the practices for the riot in the soul. “That riot is helped by the burning of sin by prayers, the beating of sin with fasting, and the run out of sin with love. We have to chase sin out. So it is a journey through Lent,” he said..
The distribution of the ashes was done differently this year. Instead of Assing and alter servers doing this alone, members of the congregation were invited to the alter in pairs, and each administered the ashes to the other’s forehead with the words “repent and be faithful to the Gospel” or “Turn away from sin, and be faithful to the Gospel.”