16th Conference : Presenters & Papers (St. Vincent 2013)

Dr. Gerard Boodoo

Dr. Gerald Boodoo

Dr. Gerald Boodoo is Associate Professor of theology at Duquesne University’s McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts and Director of the Center for African Studies. He was Associate Professor of theology and holder of the Drexel Society Professorship in Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana. He received his doctorate in Religious Studies from the Catholic University of Louvain, Leuven, Belgium. Boodoo specializes in theologies of the Third World with particular emphasis on the Caribbean region. His concerns are to find appropriate ways to engage theological reflection that allow for multiple and varied voices to be heard as ways to enhance contemporary theological endeavor. He has published numerous articles and chapters on theology in the Caribbean and is currently working on texts that explore theology in the Caribbean and among Caribbean immigrants in North America. Dr. Boodoo serves on the international committee of the recently formed World Forum on Theology and Liberation, on the executive board of the Conference of Theology in the Caribbean Today, on the board of Caribbean Catholics of North America, and has served for six years as convener of the World Church Theology Group of the Catholic Theological Society of America.

Conference Topic : Vatican II and Catholic Theology in the Caribbean


What is the impact of the Second Vatican Council on theology in the Caribbean some 50 years after its reception? One can argue that catholic theology in the Caribbean now has a more decidedly local flavor and has come into its own, especially since we now have a regular conference that promotes and heralds these local reflections and activities. On the other hand, one can also argue that despite these attempts over the 50 years since Vatican II, the local churches don’t seem all that much “local” and still remain outposts, at least in terms of their ecclesiology, of a Roman church that is content, and in some cases, intent, on keeping the region a missionary outpost, a localized image of Euro-American hegemony. How are we to gauge our theological journey in the region since Vatican II? This paper will give brief overviews of the historical and methodological journeys of our theological production and indicate some markers for assessing our theological journey.

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Anna K. Perkins (a)

Dr. Anna Kasafi Perkins

Dr. Anna Kasafi Perkins is the Senior Programme Officer in the Quality Assurance Unit, Office of the Board for Undergraduate Studies, UWI, Mona, and Fellow, UWI Ethics Centre Initiative. She is the former Dean of Studies of St Michael’s Theological College, an affiliated institution of UWI ; and a member of adjunct faculty for the Institute of Black Catholic Studies, Xavier University, Louisiana .  She holds degrees from UWI, Mona, Cambridge University and Boston College.  She has an eclectic interest in body theology, faith and political life, sex, gender and theology, popular culture and Christianity, quality in higher education and ethics. Her publications include: Justice as Equality: Michael Manley’s Caribbean Vision of Justice (2010, published by Peter Lang), “’Blak Up! Blak Up!: The Liturgical Compositions of Barry Chevannes,”(2009),  “God (Not) Gwine Sin Yuh”: The Female Face of HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean and a Theology of Suffering”(2009).

Conference Topic :-

                 The Shadows of Yesteryear : The Antilles Bishop and History after Vatican II

Gaudium et Spes (GES), the Pastoral Constitution of the Church in the Modern World, epitomizes the Council’s new approach to history, its new historical consciousness.  In GES, history is viewed as “a place of ongoing revelation” rather than a static reality susceptible to the application of universal principles.  Such increased historical consciousness meant relying on the tools of the human sciences and understanding salvation history in human terms.  Indeed, it acknowledges that the Church, in order to understand God’s activity in the world, needs a deepened understanding of its historical environment.  Nonetheless, the Constitution, in spite of this progressive vision of history, is limited by its perspective; it presents the world through the eyes of “[male] reform-oriented Christians of Western, developed, capitalist countries”.  Recognising  this privileged perspective from which the Council treats with matters such as history has led to critiques from several groups, including those who say the vision of the Constitution does not go far enough or has not been realized. This paper explores the idea of history from a Caribbean perspective, one which is has been described as “having no history for having not created anything and therefore having nothing to write (home) about”.  In describing the negative historical experiences of the Region’s people, the bishops speak of the “shadows of yesteryear,” clearly to be contrasted with the “light” of some missionaries and the values of the enslaved African people.  The presence of such stark contrasts points to the interpretive lens used in viewing Caribbean historical experience.  Taking as a launchpad, Evangelisation in a New Caribbean, the pastoral in which the Antilles Bishops present perhaps their most clear cut if somewhat brief analysis of the history of the Region, tracing from the arrival of the Europeans to enslavement and indentureship (another form of slavery), it surfaces and critiques the main hermeneutical principles in the historical approach of the Antilles Bishops.  The hope is to present a renewed vision of history taking account of the ambiguity of shadows and light in the Caribbean experience.


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Dr. Sylvia Rose Ann Walker

Dr. Sylvia Rose Ann Walker is Assistant Professor, Language and Literature Specialisation in the Centre for Education Programmes at the University of Trinidad & Tobago (UTT). She joined the teaching staff of the Department of Liberal Arts, UWI, St. Augustine in 1999 and functioned as a part-time lecturer/tutor for Literatures in English and English Foundation courses. She is a graduate of Columbia University, New York and holds a PhD with distinction from UWI. She was also a faculty member at the Regional Seminary of St. John Vianney and the Uganda Martyrs, Mount St. Benedict, Trinidad, and recognizes literary theology and literary ethics as her principal research interest.

Conference topic : “Out of the Depths – A Literary exploration of Post-Vatican II Images of God and the Church”


                                             “Literature and the arts are also, in their own way, of great importance  

to the life of the Church. For they strive to probe the unique nature of

man, his problems, and his experiences as he struggles to know and

perfect both himself and the world” (Gaudium et Spes, #62). 

This paper explores the implications of Post-Vatican II Caribbean images of God and the Church for the discourse of Catholic Christian identity in this Year of Faith.  Given the epigraph and through reader-based poststructuralist theoretical/critical approaches, it will be argued that the religious images in she tries her tongue, her silence softly breaks (1993), On Holy Week (1993), whispers from the cotton tree root (2000) and Canticles (2007) challenge some accepted ways of thinking and speaking about Catholic Christian identity thereby serving to “stimulate the mind to a more accurate and penetrating grasp of the faith” (Gaudium et Spes #62).      


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Sr. Annette Chow SJC

For decades Sr. Annette Chow SJC has worked as a parish administrator in Trinidad & Tobago, her passion along with the Better World Movement. Before that she taught for 15years. She holds a BA in Latin, Spanish, English (London), BA Theology (UWI), DipEd (UWI), and MEd (Wales). From 2005-2012 Sr. Annette published a monthly column entitled “Photo-meditation” in the Catholic News of the Archdiocese of Port-of-Spain, Trinidad & Tobago. Sr. Annette will deliver the Cheryl Herrera Memorial Lecture at the 16th Conference. Her topic : “Creation Spirituality : What’s in it for the Caribbean?”

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Sr. Rose Leon

Sr. Rose Leon SJC

Sr. Rose Leon is a Sister of St. Joseph of Cluny. She has served many years as an educator at various primary schools in her homeland, St. Lucia. Over the years, she has conducted several retreats for children, youth and adults. She is a recipient of two undergraduate degrees in Literature and Education and is about to complete a Masters Degree in Educational Sciences and a Masters Degree in Literature at the Université des Antilles et de la Guyane in Martinique. She has recently conducted research in St. Lucia on the impact of oral literature within the school system and its transforming role in society.

Conference Topic  : “The Role of Oral Literature in Moral Development”


“Literature teaches us how to live”. These words echo the sentiments of writer and philosopher Tzvetan Todorov for whom the value of any literary work lies in its ability to contribute to the formation of the human person. Literature provides possibilities for interaction with others, enabling individuals to enter into a reciprocal exchange of enriching the lives of each other. It enables them to make a profound experience of self thus becoming responsible actors in society. Failure to respond to this fundamental need of the human person contributes to a loss of purpose of any literary work.  Literature is not an end in itself since it enables the human person to project towards his final purpose. In this argument, Todorov touches on one of the fundamental roles of moral theology, which provides a perspective of how a Christian must live in order to win favour with God. In addressing concepts such as ‘freedom’, ‘conscience’ and ‘responsibility’, moral theology establishes the framework for Christian development.

The ancient traditions of oral literature also served this purpose. They provided a code of conduct by which the society was guided. They helped make a distinction between right and wrong, good and evil, sin and virtue by provoking the consciences of individuals, thus encouraging them to make decisions that would have a positive impact on themselves and on others. Are these old traditions, which played such a significant role in society, lost forever? Or, do the present social ills force us to be submerged into an attitude of helplessness and a feeling of nostalgia for what used to be? This paper on the influence of oral literature in today’s society gives us a glimmer of hope as it explores the role of oral literature in moral development

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Bro. Paschal (a)

Bro. Paschal Jordan OSB

Brother Paschal Jordan O.S.B. was born in Guyana in 1944 and entered the Abbey of Mount St. Benedict, Trinidad and Tobago, in 1964. He was a member of the now-defunct Abbey’s monastic foundation in Bartica, Guyana. His early musical education in piano and violin took place in Guyana and he subsequently studied plainchant, organ and further piano in Trinidad and Tobago. A scholarship from the French Government took him to the Institut de Musique Liturgique and the Institut Superieure de Liturgie in Paris where he majored in psalmody, graduating cum laude. Brother Paschal Jordan is well known throughout the territories of the Antilles Episcopal Conference as a liturgist and composer of liturgical music. He has served as a liturgical music coordinator to the Caribbean Conference of Churches and on the Worship Committee of the World Council of Churches. Bro. Paschal has  recently returned from his second stint at teaching Liturgical Music in a Benedictine Monastery and a Seminary in Ghana, West Africa, and is currently working with the Liturgical Music Committee of the AEC to produce another  Caribbean Hymnal.

Conference Topic : Mount St. Benedict and the Impact of Vatican II in the Caribbean


A two-part presentation: a 30-minute film introducing the Abbey at Mount St. Benedict and chronicling its one-hundred years of existence (1912 – 06 October – 2012), and a 25-minute reflection on four areas of the Abbey’s apostolate in the light of the Second Vatican Council:

  • Liturgy and Liturgical Music.
  • Education for Leadership in church and civic life.
  • Ecumenism and Inter-Religious Dialogue.
  • Pastoral Ministry and Movements for Spirituality.

These areas, existing in some form before Vatican II, took fire from the Council’s teachings and ran with them with the enthusiasm, skill and sometimes foolhardiness of certain members of the Monastic Community. There will be a comment on the current monastic situation vis-a-vis these areas.

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Michel (2)

Fr. Michel Francis

Fr. Michel Francis, a St. Lucian by birth is a Diocesan Priest of the Archdiocese of Castries, Saint Lucia.  He has been a priest for twenty-four years and will be celebrating his twenty-fifth (25th) anniversary of his ordination (Silver Jubilee) on10 July this year. 

 Fr. Michel has been the Administrator of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception since November 2002 and became the Vicar General of the Archdiocese in December 2011.  He was a Primary School teacher for six (6) years prior to entering the Regional Seminary of St. John Vianney and the Uganda Martyrs in Trinidad.  He graduated from the St. Lucia Teachers’ College with a Certificate in Teacher Education from the University of the West Indies in 1980 and entered the Regional in September 1982.  He graduated from the seminary with a Bachelor of Arts in Theology in June 1987.

 In 1998, Fr. Michel went to Rome, Italy to pursue a licentiate in Sacred Liturgy from the Liturgical Institute of Sant’ Anselmo.  He is a facilitator at the annual School of Liturgy in St. Lucia as well as other dioceses in the region.  He is also involved in the permanent diaconate programme of the Archdiocese apart from his involvement in training lectors, animators, choirs and musicians. 

 Fr. Michel’s main responsibilities have been that of a parish priest, something he enjoys very much, especially the celebration of the liturgy.  He has a tremendous love for music and singing.

Conference Topic: “Vatican II and the Liturgy”


In this paper, I will try and capture the vision of Pope John XXIII in calling Vatican II Council.  The fact that such prominence was given to the liturgy showed that the liturgy was considered a very important aspect of Church life.  I will therefore examine the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy and identify some of the elements which the Council Fathers considered in need of reform such as the full, conscious and active participation; the need to review all the rites and texts to ensure such participation; the use of the vernacular as well as the shift from the Gregorian Chant to include other types of music, particularly local music and the use of other musical instruments. The Council recognized that culture has something to offer to the liturgy and so I will take a look at the norms which were set in place for inculturation/enculturation. The Caribbean Church has contributed significantly to the repertoire of music in the Church; this will be highlighted as well as the attempts made by the Francophone dioceses in the Region to utilize more of its Kweyol in the liturgy.  I will end this presentation by taking a quick review of the new Roman Missal and the impact it has had on the Caribbean Church thus far.

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