VLCFF Supports Diocese of Bridgetown, Barbados Deacon Formation

Bishop Jason Gordon blessing  Deacon Stephen Foster ( in the background is Monsignor Vincent Blackett  (L) and Seminarian Moses Gikandi)

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgetown held its first ordination of Deacons in over two decades on Saturday 2nd September 2017. The extraordinary ceremony in the diocese saw George Waithe and Stephen Foster entering the Order of Deacons through the imposition of hands and prayers by The Most Rev. Charles Jason Gordon.

The Solemn Mass of Ordination was held at the beautiful St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Cathedral on Jemmott’s Lane in the capital city of Bridgetown. The pews of the cathedral were filled with a rejoicing congregation. The sanctuary of the Cathedral had a joyful assembly of clergy which included Monsignor Vincent Blackett, Fr.Clement Paul, Fr. Andy Nyga, Fr. Charles Dominique, Fr. Gregory, Fr Michael Barrow, Fr. Vibert Stephens and Fr. Peter Clarke.

The ordination of Mr. Waithe and Mr. Foster is the result of a strong effort by Bishop Jason over the past five years to motivate men in the diocese to listen to God’s call to them for a life of vocation. The Bishop’s efforts resulted in the setting up of a diaconate program that attracted five men into a process of discernment, studying the scriptures and the Catholic Faith. The diaconate program will soon have more ordinations as three more persons will take vows in the not too distance future, and it is hoped that the years of drought of men committing to serve the church is over.

In his homily Bishop Jason made it clear that being a deacon was not be mistaken for glamour. He said it was not a road to popularity, “ … being a deacon is not the royal road to fame, it is the royal road to humility, it is the royal road to service, it is the royal road to the cross.”

The diaconate program which was revamped after Vatican II is very important to the church. Deacons play an official role in the church. They become co-workers with the Bishop and priests, assist at the Eucharist, proclaim the Gospel and preach the Homily. They are ordained to preside at weddings and funerals and minister to the needs of the people is so far as they are capable of doing what is required. A Deacon must be a person who is willing to serve and be ready to give their God given gifts to the community of the church.

At the end of the Mass of Ordination the new deacons spoke proudly and with humility. Deacon George said “My friends in Christ, God called me to be part of his vineyard to serve His People. Four years ago I was approached by Fr Clement Paul and asked to join the diaconate programme. I prayed long and earnestly about it and consulted my wife who wisely pointed out that this was a call from God. I finally decided to answer God’s call and throughout the next four years embarked upon a journey that was extremely challenging but with the support of Bishop Jason, clergy and of course my loving and ever supportive wife, I persevered and today I stand here before God and you my brothers and sisters ready to serve.”

He was followed by Deacon Stephen who said “The diaconate course has allowed the scriptures to come alive for me, through which I have been able to understand God’s plan of salvation for his creation and specific relation to his plan through His Son Jesus Christ and my response to this. I have come to the realization that faith without knowledge and understanding is incomplete. I have been short changing myself and settling for less. Faith without involvement and service in one sided and did not allow me to grow and mature into who and what God has created me to be. It is through service that the scriptures have come alive and the word has become flesh. It becomes my personal encounter with The Living God.”

He was also very thankful to persons who helped him along his diaconate journey. He remarked “I am deeply grateful to Bishop Jason Gordon for considering me for this diaconate programme and to my Parish Priests, Fr.Andy Nyga and Fr. Gregory for their continuous support. To my Coffee Club members, thanks for your love, support and encouragement. The rest of clergy and parishioners who have supported me not only in affirmation and prayers but financially as well as the program has not been cheap, my sincere thanks and appreciation. To my brothers in the programme, I am indeed honored to have spent these four years with you and your love and support has been deeply appreciated. To all my family and friends thanks for your prayers.”

There was loud applause for the ‘new’ deacons for the Diocese of Bridgetown.

After mass the congregation had an opportunity to meet and greet Deacon George and Deacon Stephen at a breakfast.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgetown is now richer after Saturday’s Solemn Mass of Ordination to the Order of Deacon of George Waithe and Stephen Foster. Bishop Jason also gave special thanks to Sr. Angela Anne Zukowski of the University of Dayton, who was present for the ordination. She was very instrumental for the online studies and essential part of the studies for the new Deacons. Bishop Jason now looks towards to more men becoming deacons, he said “As we thank God for our two new clerics, please include them in your regular prayer that God will bless them as they live their Diaconate each day. Glory to God in the highest! Glory to God for our Deacons!”

Bishop Jason Gordon blessing  Deacon George Waithe (Acolyte Aurthur Toussaint)

Deacons prostrating before the altar

Ordination Video (4 mins)