Message from Bishop Francis Alleyne, Bishop of Georgetown, Guyana -  13th November 2014

Brothers and Sisters,

The proroguing or suspension of Parliament on Monday November 10, 2014 puts Guyana into uncharted territory.

If we are to be true to our faith tradition then we can step into the unknown, not with trepidation, but poised to draw on our convictions with the confidence of new life and resurrection.

There are expectations that the “Church” would give a guiding word or pronounce on issues.  But the Church is the entire people of faith and not just its leaders.  When believers from any faith tradition live their faith teachings in everyday life then truly the Church is speaking eloquently.  When in the workplace there is diligent attention to service, and when in the family love and respect form relationships and identity and when in daily life we hold our heads high in the face of intimidation and corruption it is then that the Church speaks in volumes.  There are many who are part of being Church in this way and to be highly commended.  In times of flux and transition we are all called to examine our convictions and bring them to the process of renewal.

It is true that in former times the Catholic Church was at the forefront of efforts to promote justice and peace in Guyana, as we sought to give life and meaning to Jesus’s exhortation to have life and have it to the full.  We have worked on many national issues, from elections to domestic violence to trafficking in persons.

It is true that efforts in this area have not been consistent.  In humility, I suggest that Guyana – like my Church – needs both institutional and relational strengthening.  We must find new ways of relating to each other, and better structures to support and encourage those improved relations.

I believe that reconciliation and trust are critical to the process of restoring and building the nation.

I believe further that our limited Catholic capacities must not see us only focused inwards and am thus taking two initiatives

Firstly, I am reconstituting the Justice and Peace Commission of the Catholic Church.  This body has a critical role to play in promoting the social teachings of the Church and providing leadership and inspiration to the Faithful.

Secondly, there will be a process of engagement with parishes to pray, reflect, discuss, and discern the urgings of the Holy Spirit as relates to justice and peace in Guyana.  I have invited two members of the Commission, Gino Persaud and Lawrence Lachmansingh to lead this process.

I pray that these two initiatives will lead to increased Catholic conviction and action that would bring all Guyanese to the full freedom as children of God.

I therefore call on all Guyanese and their leaders to ensure that we navigate these uncertain times peacefully, honestly and respectfully with a view to the earliest resumption of parliamentary democracy.

Finally, this crisis, this time of opportunity, requires all Guyana to join hands and find solutions to both the immediate impasse and the longer-term causes that led to it.  I commit my support for initiatives that bring people together in common cause for our beloved country.