In the wake of the annual Père Laval pilgrimage, Cardinal Piat’s homily this year has been an unexpected breath of fresh air. Weighing each word carefully, Cardinal Piat emphatically said, ‘Le peuple Moris pe soufer’ (The Mauritian population is suffering). All those listening felt the impact of these words deeply resonating within themselves.
These words also attained a national dimension as Cardinal Piat’s homily reverberated from Sainte-Croix to the whole island as he candidly enumerated the issues plaguing our country; unemployment, lack of social housing, incompetence, corruption, discrimination and the flourishing illicit drug trade. He also focused on grey areas surrounding the MV Wakashio disaster and the ensuing tragedies of loss of human lives with one person still missing, pollution of our coastlines, loss of livelihood of those who depend on the mercy of the South-East Sea and dead dolphins.
What has been particularly resoundingly refreshing about Cardinal Piat’s hortative homily was that he echoed the grievances of so many voiceless people who feel forsaken, forgotten even. While numerous citizens are surfing on a wave of uncertainty given the current economic context, Cardinal Piat has made an earnest appeal to the authorities and ministers to listen to their distress calls. That is a rare occasion where a religious leader has risen to the occasion to take to task our governors directly, exhorting them to be humble enough to touch base with the population and not to play down the August 29 March in Port Louis. May this serve as a lesson to our ministers who are often quick to forget their roots and initial mission of working in the interests of the people.
Moreover, multiple sociocultural associations could take a leaf out of Cardinal Piat’s homily. Instead of systematically kowtowing to the governors of the day for favours and nominations, a good start would be a hard long look in a mirror and to reassess their mission and vision. These sociocultural associations should learn to be the mouthpiece of their members’ wellbeing in a multi-cultural setting and cast away the nasty habit of selfishly and brazenly lobbying for remunerative rewards for a select few.
We can only hope that Cardinal Piat’s homily has not fallen on deaf ears. Amen.