New Arch Bishop of Castries, Gabriel Malzaire
New Arch Bishop of Castries, Gabriel Malzaire

Forty-four years of nationhood is a significant milestone for any nation. It provides an opportunity to look back and examine its successes and failures as a nation; an opportunity for us to ask ourselves, where are we amid a rapidly changing world on the social, economic, technological, and religious/spiritual levels and the like.

It is often said that change is the only constant thing in this world. The simple reason is that life is on a continuum; it is going somewhere and unable to stop in mid-course. In our occasional nostalgic moments, when we reflect on what we regard as the good old days, we easily fall in the trap of wishing that time would stop for just a while, to savour the goodness/sweetness of the past. However, the mind jolts us into reality and forces us to focus on present needs.

This year's theme: One Dominica, One People, One Vision, provides great impetus for reflection on what we wish to be as a nation. Oneness has always been the goal of any conscientious group of people. However, it is by no means synonymous with uniformity. On the contrary, the oneness of a group or people recognises the giftedness of every part of the community that could bring to the table whatever would work for the common good.

The responsibility to build our nation, the Commonwealth of Dominica, is the one common dominator among all its citizens. No one is too little to contribute to the total of what we ought to be as a people. This realisation, especially among the poor and marginalised, augurs positively towards the oneness which this year's theme promotes. It is often said that the strength of a nation is judged by the way it treats its weakest member. It can be paraphrased thus: "The strength of a nation is determined by the manner in which the poorest and weakest are permitted to make their rightful contribution to the building of the nation."

Forty-four years is an age of maturity for the well-integrated human person. At such an age they have offspring of their own, raising them under the principal and values that have contributed to their maturity. What, then, can we say of our nation? What have we to show in forty-four years? Are we a kinder, gentler, more Christian, more humane nation? The answer my friends must come from within, the answer must come within!

Let us pray that our future endeavours as a nation will reflect the achievement of our oneness, working with a common vision for the common good.
 Happy birthday Dominica!