The Catechists were members of the Legion of Mary and all children were expected to join the Legion of Mary after their first communion and confirmation. This allowed the faith to be a continuous part of the children’s lives, as they were encouraged to get involved in ministry. However, over the last 70 years, the Archdiocese has exercised more flexibility in its mandates, leaving young Catholics with greater choice after receiving first communion and confirmation.
Parish coordinators were appointed as required by the Archdiocese, one of the first was Ann Marie de Matas (around 1989) who led us to winners row in a Vicariate competition for exhibition of children’s work. Under her tenure, we introduced pre and post communion classes. She was ably supported by catechists Rosalie Laban, Pat Lewis, Wendy Morales, Marie Walters, Stacey Matamoro and later, Patricia Charles.
During this period, classes were conducted in La Seiva by Pat Mohammed and Tessie Williams.Ann Marie handed over to Patricia Charles sometime in 1995 and from then to 2012 with a four-year break in between, she has coordinated the programme with some success. There have been several areas of change, as directed by the Archdiocese. Mention must also be made of Fr. Francis Amodio who coordinated during that four year period and still helps to oversee periodic Vacation Bible School. Catechetical month was celebrated with renewal of our commitment at Mass followed by breakfast and an exchange of gifts. Our catechists also took part in the activities organised by the suburban vicariate.
- Legion of Mary
In 1937, the Legion of Mary, the oldest continuous group in the parish, was founded by Fr. Henry van der Boogeard, who at the time, was parish priest in St. Michael’s. The group invited other parishioners to join the work of the Legion.
These works include: catechism, evangelisation; visitations to homes and Institutions; communion to the sick; offering prayers for the dead; cleaning the brass at church; arranging flowers for the altar; ministering to inactive parishioners; and assisting the sick with their chores and errands.
- Hospitality Group
The St. Michael’s Hospitality Group, established in 2007, consisted of 25 members. These members perform various duties in the church, such as: ushering, greeting, organizing the collectors and gift-bearers, distributing the newsletters, assisting with sharing at various special Masses and special occasions.
The members of this team are also members of the Archdiocese National Committee, which means they abide by their motto, “To serve as Jesus served.” The team assists whenever needed and gives support to all the various ministries throughout the parish.
- Elijah's Bread
Elijah’s Bread was started in December 2002, by the Carmelite Friars, as a social outreach to those in need in Maracas, St Joseph. A month earlier, after a reconciliation service in St Michael’s Church, there was a great quantity of food remaining. and monthly collections.
This food was given to a member of the community, who, while graciously accepting it, noted that it was the first time that she and her family had eaten for days. Thus, began the process of establishing what became Elijah’s Bread.
Gerard Tang Choon, O. Carm, then a Carmelite brother, together with volunteers from the parish of St. Michael’s began to distribute food hampers to families in need. At inception, six families were assisted, but the number soon rose to one hundred families throughout Trinidad, in Maracas Valley/St. Joseph; Blanchisseuse and Manzanilla (the last two being formerly served by the Carmelites).
Elijah’s Bread is a registered non-governmental organization (NGO), and in addition to its food distribution programme, it also assists the St. Michael’s Maracas R.C. School. It has partnered to facilitate an after-school tutoring programme and launched a legal aid clinic in September 2012. Since 2007, the group has also hosted an annual Children’s Christmas Party. Funding for these far-reaching projects come from generous donations, fundraisers.
- Prayer Group
The St. Michael’s Prayer Group was established in 1975 after Brother Mora and Sister Elie, among other individuals from Port-of-Spain visited the parish and conducted a charismatic prayer meeting. After the inspiring prayer meeting, some individuals from the Community started to attend similar prayer meetings at the St. Charles’ Church in Tunapuna. lts members received training through bible school and various other courses. However, in time the numbers dwindled and today, it is currently a small group, which conducts weekly meetings at the St. Michael’s Church.
- Men's Movement
A weekend retreat which was organised by Fr. Cuthbert Alexander and featured lan Taylor in October 1996, sowed the seeds for the establishment of the Men’s Movement. Some 60 men attended that retreat. With the assistance of Fr. Makhan the Men’s Group was born.
The first Men’s Movement meeting was held, on the 17th November 1996. Since then, the group continues to be a mainstay of the parish, assisting the school, helping sick and needy parishioners, hosting their annua
l barbeque, donating to charity, helping build and repair houses, and assisting members with medical expenses.