Grenada’s Third Governor General, Sir Reginald Oswald Palmer was laid to rest last Friday at the St. George’s top cemetery following a State Funeral at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in St. George’s.
Sir Reginald, a prominent member of the Catholic Faith was afforded the Rite of a Christian Burial on the same day the Church celebrated the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Celebrant at the funeral, Fr. Clifton Harris, who is the Diocesan Administrator of the Roman Catholic Church, extended praise to Sir Reginald who was referred to as a distinguished and noble son of the soil.
Fr. Harris was thankful, on behalf of the Diocese of St. George’s-in-Grenada, for the gift of the life of Sir Reginald whom he said “lived among us.”
The former Governor General was actively involved in many Religious and Secular Organisations including the Catholic Men’s League of Grenada, Engaged EncounterCursillo Movement, and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
Although the funeral was without tributes, Homilist Fr. Ronald Holder expounded on the hallmarks of the former Governor General who was known to many as a giant in his own rights.
In what could be described as a powerful sermon, Fr. Ronald saw in Sir Reginald someone with values and morals, and also a disciplinarian.
“We thank God for the gift of Reginald. We thank God for his life, for his service, for his ministry,” he told the congregation.
Fr. Ronald noted that more often than not, people spend a lot of their energy in looking at everybody’s faults, but wondered if they ever affirm and thank God for the gift of someone.
The Roman Catholic Cleric expressed support for the decision taken by late Bishop Vincent Darius and now Sir Reginald not to have tributes at their funerals.
“I’m so delighted that, before Sir Reginald, we had Bishop Vincent Darius, and now Sir Reginald explaining and saying to us very clearly, ‘no tributes, no eulogy,’ because it is when a person (is) dead that we come and we give such beautiful tributes and such great eulogy. Why didn’t we do it to the person when they were alive? Why didn’t we say to them what we needed to say to them when they were alive?
“…I’m sure that Reginald will have set the tone for us going forward, that we will stop with all these tributes, going on the stage and being able to speak to all that a person did, and some of it (are) lies.
Fr. Ronald who has been Sir Reginald’s Parish Priest at the Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Church at Mt. Parnassus, St. George’s recalled the house visits he paid to his residence as part of his pastoral care for the sick and shut-in.
According to the parish priest, whenever he visited the Palmers’ home when the Governor General became house-bound, it was beautiful to see Lady Palmer sitting besides her husband and both of them holding hands.
Sir Reginald married Judith nee Parke who is from Morne Jaloux on June 19th, 1954.
Fr. Ronald described Sir Reginald as “a loving husband” who was married for almost 62 years, as well as someone who can be called a “loving father,” and “ a devoted family man”.
The Catholic cleric admonished young married couples to take a page from the life of Sir Reginald and Lady Palmer because many marriages today end up before the divorce court due to selfishness.
Fr. Ronald lamented that Grenada is loosing people of the ilk of Sir Reginald “who could teach us so much.”
“We are loosing a generation who can help us to understand the values and morals that are so important, a lot of values and morals that we kick through the door, a lot of the values and morals no longer exist.
The world is now creating a new value, a new moral system,” he said.
Sir Reginald, born on February 15, 1923, was sworn in as Governor General of Grenada in August 1992, and retired from the office in August 1996.
Fr. Ronald believes, the life of the late Governor General can teach the nation what it means to give of self to country.
“He gave of himself in the context of leadership, and this is not an attack on our politicians, but maybe an encouragement to … look at Sir Reginald, look at his life, what can you take from him, what can you learn from him?” he said.
Sir Reginald was afforded a 21-gun salute as part of the ceremony for his entombment.