A bishop’s motto describes what he stands for and what will be at the core of his ministry. He is coming to build the Church in Grenada on loving kindness, the loving kindness of the heart of our God. He will succeed in this, only in communion with you. He will need your loving support and collaboration. In the time ahead, your bishop will confirm you in the faith, affirm your strengths, work with you to heal wounds, build bridges of reconciliation and enhance communion at every level of the Church. For the Church in Grenada the time has come to change gear and to recharge your batteries for action.
The long awaited day has come. The Church in Grenada has been crying for a Messiah and now it has gotten its dream bishop. Wipe your tears Church, your time of joy has come. Be strong, take courage. A good leader has been given to you. He is tall, strong, courageous and virtuous; a theologian and good shepherd who cares for little people. Embrace your shepherd. Welcome him with open arms. Bring your resilience into effect in moving forward.
Your newly appointed bishop is known for his love for the poor and the marginalized. He has also paid the price for his kindness by being robbed and tied up in a life threatening episode less than two weeks before he was appointed Bishop. His commitment to serving the poor and vulnerable will continue as part of his ministry as bishop and you must find in him a model and example for caring.
Bishop Elect, Clyde, you are the gift given to the Church in Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique by Pope Francis. In appointing you as Bishop of the Diocese of St.-Georges-in-Grenada, Pope Francis has put his trust and confidence in you to lead this local Church and to give hope to the people of this nation. Rule wisely and with a gentle heart. Today the Spirit of God rests upon you, to anoint you and consecrate you for your mission. God has chosen you to be the one to lead the Church in Grenada. Today we, the People of God, the Church, gathered here, thank you for your ‘yes’ to God and our Holy Father, Pope Francis, in accepting the call to serve and be the shepherd of this flock. Thank you!
Your coming brings with it great expectations. In Victoria on Thursday night one of the church leaders referred to you as the one who will ‘revamp and revitalize’ the local Church. The clergy will be looking to you for support, direction and leadership. The religious will be looking to you for affirmation and inspiration. The laity will be looking to you for leadership by example; a leadership that will give them confidence in living their faith; a leadership that would be consultative, attentive to their voice and empowering to them. Your kindness and care for priests in the Archdiocese of Port of Spain, Trinidad, while you were Vicar for Clergy, goes before you. Your clergy, religious and faithful could expect from you kindness, compassion and understanding in your pastoral care for them.
This is a moment of opportunity for the Church in Grenada; a Kairos moment. This is a new time of hope and change for Grenada. This is a time for listening to what the Spirit is saying to the Church. “In order to hear the voice of the Lord”, Pope Francis said on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart in June this year, “you need to make yourself small”.
In the first reading from the book of Deuteronomy, Moses said to the people: “The Lord set his heart on you and chose you not because you were the most numerous of all peoples – for indeed you were the smallest of all – but because he loved you…” (Dt 7:7-8). Pope Francis has been emphasizing for a long time now, in his pontificate, that when one is made a cardinal in the Church it is not an honour but a call to serve. He says the same thing to bishops. Being called to be a bishop is not a promotion but a call to service in the Church. This is an awesome call: for it is God who chooses, calls and joins Himself to the one called.
Today I say to my brother Bishop Elect, Clyde, ‘make yourself small’. In order to hear the voice of the Lord you need to make yourself small. If the words from the Scripture, from the book of Deuteronomy, are for you today, they are also in a remarkable way for the entire Church in Grenada. Every Catholic Christian in Grenada is called upon to make himself or herself small in the eyes of God today because, you too, need to hear the voice of the Lord. To become small we must empty ourselves and become humble like Christ. He says: ‘learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart’ (Mt 11: 29).
I look at the central place that the Sacred Heart of Jesus has in the Bishop Elect’s Coat of Arms and marvel at his spirituality that goes back to his youth. The Sacred Heart of Jesus was my fountain of joy and inspiration on my journey to the priesthood and continues to sustain my vocation. It is clear that the Bishop Elect’s devotion to the Sacred Heart has nurtured his priesthood for more than 43 years. May a fresh flame of love ignite in his soul as he receives the fullness of the priesthood in his Episcopal Ordination. There is nothing so strong as gentleness and so gentle as real strength. The gift of the heart of Jesus is gentleness and there are certain tasks that only gentleness can accomplish (cf Flor McCarthy).
The triple role of the Bishop in his diocese is:- to teach, to sanctify and to lead. To fulfill these roles the bishop needs to cultivate:
• A shepherd’s heart, exemplified in caring for his flock
• A listening and attentive ear, exemplified in openness,
dialogue and consultation
• A gentle and compassionate disposition, exemplified by
patience, understanding and affirmation
• Humility and tenderness, exemplified by his willingness to be
the servant of all, to be available to all, to lead by example and
to exercise power as a gift of service for others.
In his ministry a bishop needs to avoid being arrogant, dictatorial or mundane. He needs to be a man of prayer and wisdom, a defender of the faith, filled with the Holy Spirit, with a love for the poor and he should choose to live a simple life-style. He must be completely conformed to Christ and love God with a passion.
Bishop Elect, Clyde, being a bishop is serious business but you seem to have been cut out for this a long time ago and thank God it has come to fruition. Congratulations. It is all God’s work! May my concluding words from one of the Fathers of the Church, St. Gregory of Nazianzen inspire you in your call to serve as Bishop of St. Georges in Grenada:
First be purified and then purify others
First allow yourself to be instructed by wisdom and then instruct others
First become the light and then enlighten others
First draw close to God and then guide others to Him
First be holy yourself and then make others holy.
Now is the Time for Hope and Change!