There was no shortage of Representatives from various denominations who came out to join their Roman Catholic Brethren for the Celebration of the life of a “home-grown” Bishop who had dedicated his entire priestly life towards Christian Unity through the spirit of ecumenism.
His Lordship Bishop Vincent Darius who departed this life last month was finally laid to rest on Wednesday, four weeks following his death at a New York Hospital while undergoing medical treatment.
Three days prior to the day of the funeral, sympathisers, young and old, including those on the sister islands of Carriacou and Petite Martinique filed passed the casket bearing the body of Bishop Darius at different church locations as they paid their last respect at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Church Street, St. George’s.
Among those who came out to pay their last respect to that great Shepherd and Leader who championed the cause for social justice were State Officials including Her Excellency, the Governor General, Dame Cecile La Grenade, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell and Ministers of Government along with other Parliamentarians from both the Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament.
A noted figure inside the church was Senator Chester Humphrey, the President of the Senate who is known as an avowed atheist and non-believer in God and Jesus Christ.
Smartly clad in the clerical vestments of which a Bishop is robed with the Mitre fitted on his head, and the Crosier (pastoral staff) placed at his side, Bishop Darius laid peacefully inside of the brown wooden-structure casket.
90-year old Bishop Emeritus, Sydney Charles, who ordained Darius as the Bishop of St. George’s over a decade ago, officially received the body as it was handed over from the funeral agency, Otway Bailey Funeral Home.
In his homily, Archbishop Rivas who delivered the homily told the gathering that it is “a sad day” not only for the church, but Grenada, as well as the friends and family members of the late Bishop Darius.
He said that Bishop Darius knew that he was dying and was prepared for his passing.
He recalled that the fine structure in which the mass was being held – the Immaculate Conception – is a testimony to the work done by the late Catholic Spiritual leader in the Spice Isle in taking charge of its restoration following the passage of Hurricane Ivan in 2004.
According to the Archbishop, this took a toll on Bishop Darius and contributed to his illness.
Despite his illness and discomfort, the late Darius undertook several overseas trips to help raise funds to cover the cost running into millions to rebuild the church.
The Chief celebrant reminded the gathering that the death of Bishop Darius is a solemn reminder to mankind that “we too will meet our own passage from this life to the next”.
“It’s a reminder to all that they too have to be prepared for their own immortality”, he remarked.
Archbishop Rivas disclosed that Bishop Darius had communicated with the Pope’s representative in the Caribbean that the process for selecting a new Bishop in Grenada needed to be activated because he knew that he was coming to the end of his life.
The senior Catholic Cleric expressed confidence that Bishop Darius is now in the hands of God and being protected by him “for the love of all eternity”.
The body of Bishop Darius was entombed as part of the mass in the crypt of the Cathedral to lie alongside the island’s first Catholic Bishop, Justin Field.
The 60-year old Darius was born in Crochu, St. Andrew’s on September 6th, 1955, ordained to the priesthood on June 26th 1987 by the late Bishop Lester Guilly in his childhood Parish of St. Martin de Porres, Crochu.
Bishop Darius was appointed as the fourth Bishop of the Diocese of St. George’s-in-Grenada on July 10th 2002, and ordained on October 2nd 2002 as the first Grenadian-born Bishop at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in St. George’s.
Bishop Darius adopted the Motto: “Proclaim The Good News.”
Many of the faithfuls often refer to the late Bishop as a father, friend, guardian, counsellor and spiritual leader not only to the Catholic Church, but also to the rest of the Member Churches of the Conference of Churches of Grenada (CCG).