In remembering his immediate predecessor bishops we cannot help but recall all of those who went before. Archbishops Gilbert, Pantin, Ryan and Dowling were preceded by eleven other bishops dating back to 1820 when the Church in this part of the Caribbean was a Vicariate Apostolic. We must remember too those Archbishops of Westminster who preceded them and the long succession of bishops going right back to the apostles and to Jesus Himself.
The Profession of Faith brings out for us the meaning of the word “catholic.” The Church is “catholic,” not just in membership, but in teaching and living the whole of the Good News of Jesus Christ. We cannot pick and choose what to believe or what to practise and omit what we do not like. The Oath of Allegiance to the Pope is a powerful reminder to us of what St. Paul taught “Now together you are Christ’s body.” (1 Cor.12:21)
Like any living body the Universal Church or a particular church (e.g. the Diocese of St. George’s-in-Grenada) goes through different phases. There are times of great growth, (as in adolescence), times of conflict, times of consolidation, times of pain and suffering. But all of the experiences contribute to making us the unique Church we are. The great expansion brought about by the arrival of the English Dominicans in 1901, the setting up of new parishes and the construction of new church buildings under Bishop Field, the experience of Revolution under Bishop Charles, the illness of Bishop Darius, (reminding us so vividly of the suffering of St. John Paul II in his final days) are our history upon which we must reflect and from which we must learn.
Now we have entered a new phase. It has begun with great joy and with great hopes. No one can tell what the next eight or so years will bring but we have great expectations of our newest bishop, Most Reverend Clyde Martin Harvey. He needs our prayers and our support. Let us be very generous with both.