That’s me alright standing in front of the altar at St. Patrick’s RC Church, Grand Bay, Dominica (like the photo on my home page ). That photo was taken before Hurricane Maria which did the damage you see in the photos below.

What does the photo have to do with All Saints Day?

Well, after Vatican II, some churches built table altars in front of the traditional high altars they had. In Grand Bay, where the culture has always been committed to change, the high altar was broken down and local stones were used to erect the table altar for which my father did the infrastructure.

     

     

[PHOTOS- Bare altar with lectern; mouldy carpet after  7 months; St. Patrick’s RC exterior- view from the cemetery where my parents’ remains are buried; view of Hurricane Maria exposed choir loft from the altar; side view- I must say I don’t like that paint scheme at all! (Ik vind het helemaal niet leuk!) (moin pas aimer ces couleur ya peirs!) (je n’aime pas ces coleurs!!]

He, Joseph, painstakingly moulded, welded and wove the galvanized iron pipes into a shape  that would support the beautiful stones to be showed.

The photo was taken during the National Holiday (independence Week) so the altar is draped  “wearing traditional Dominican wear.” You sometimes see the stones (as in the post-Maria photo where I kneel again before the altar)  but you do not see Daddy’s behind the scenes hard work that later brought him into conflict with Father N—- (a drama that our family has laughingly relived many times over!)

There’s at least one saint behind that altar story alright!

Yesterday I sat at the piano and played “Holy God We Praise Thy Name,” a hymn I haven’t sung in ages. Then I started to sing and heard my mother Isaline Anne’s beautiful soprano voice coming through. There’s at least one more saint inside the singing ministry!

Every day I wake, I remember many saints to give thanks for, like Dada Avoo and Dada Si, the first catechism teachers I recall, two saintly women who cleaned the church and put in loads of flowers every Saturday, except, of course, during Lent; but on All Saints Day, I cannot missed the uncanonized Joe and Iso, my first  teachers of the Christian Faith. For them I will be forever grateful to God.

Glory to God.

About Joan Delsol Meade

Unashamedly Christian, though not a Christian imperialist. A Dominican from Montserrat, Caribbean woman, home maker, pastor and community builder. Child advocate and sponsor

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