It was way back in 2012 when we had our first meeting with Bishop Ken Richards, Bishop of Antigua and Barbuda. His diocese includes the English speaking Islands of St. Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat, Anguilla and British Virgin Islands — all small territories involving much inter-island travel.
He was anxious to have Christian Mediation as part of the prayer life of the children of these islands, and in February 2016 we had the privilege of sharing this “gift” with the children of Antigua— like the other Caribbean Islands, not a large population but a welcoming one.
The Bishop gave his blessing to our visit and put us in touch with Fr. Frank Power who arranged our visits to two schools in St. John’s, the capital city. There was little explanation needed at our first meeting with him on February 8th. He was Irish and had met Fr. Laurence in Ireland, and knew about Fr .John Main and Christian Meditation, so we were speaking to the converted!
First stop on 9th was Christ the King High School, a Catholic Secondary Girls’ School. Fr. Frank met us here and introduced us to the Principal, Mrs. Pat Collins, and Family Life Teacher, Noleen Azille, who accompanied us to the classes.
Sessions were done with 50 girls from the Twos and Threes (13-16 year olds) and the results were as always: the girls easily slipped into the silence, and at the end of the session the feedback was much the same: “I felt peaceful and relaxed,” “It was good,” “I was close to God,” “I would like to do this at home.”
When we got back to the Principal’s office and she asked about the session, we told her to ask the teacher who was with us, and she said she was amazed at the positive response and in particular at one girl who had a lot of issues and was always in the Principal’s office — that child was the most attentive and the most involved. Her remark: “If this can happen to that child, there must be something in it!”
On Thursday the 11th we spent the morning at the St. John’s RC Primary School where we did sessions with 60 of the grades 4’s, 5’s and 6’s. We were warmly welcomed by the Principal, Mr. George Imhoff, and participated in the morning assembly. Then to the “Religion Room” where the Religion Teacher, Mrs. Sylvia Christian, explained that she was responsible for religious education in these classes. She was happy to sit and meditate with the children and promised to use this Prayer of the Heart at the beginning of her classes with the children.
We ended our visit by introducing meditation to our hosts in Antigua and left feeling that, even though the visit was short, we were able to share the “gift” of meditation, especially with the children of Antigua. We are grateful to Bishop Ken Richards and Fr. Frank Power for making this possible.