The eyes of many Catholics in Grenada are now focused on who will emerge as the new Bishop of the Diocese of St. George’s-in-Grenada following the death of His Lordship Bishop Vincent Darius.
Certain quarters of the local Church have already speculated that Fr. Clyde Martin Harvey of the Archdiocese of Port-of-Spain Trinidad is a leading candidate to become the fifth bishop.
However, Metropolitan Archbishop of the Province of Castries, St. Lucia, Robert Rivas admonished the Church in Grenada to reflect on the way forward, adding that the death of one Bishop prepares the way for the coming of a new bishop, and a fresh time of hope for a local Church.
Archbishop Rivas warned that a new Leader and Bishop will not come with a magic wand to solve all problems or turn everything he touches into gold.
“I suppose there is going to be a lot of speculation, and there will be a lot of (Papal) Nuncio’s around, and a lot of people with the information (of a new Bishop),” he said.
The Papal Nuncio who is the Pope’s Representative in the Region is the only one with the authority to recommend to the Holy See in Rome the person he views as being most suitable to become a Bishop.
Archbishop Rivas expressed the hope that other denominations can be part of the discernment of the Holy Spirit in the selection of a new Bishop.
“Wouldn’t it be wonderful for the Catholic Community to invite other Christian Communities to join it in praying for wisdom and the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the process of selecting and appointing a new Bishop and Shepherd for the Catholic Church in Grenada?” he asked.
His Grace believes the Church in Grenada must now let go of its fears and anxieties, and get on with life while clearing obstacles along the way.
“The Church in Grenada cannot remain looking into the tomb, for where it is looking, is where it will be,” he interjected.
The Homilist said the gaze of the Church in the Diocese of St. George’s-in-Grenada must now be focused on new horizons which will compel it to move out and to move forward.
He said one of his dreams is that the death of Bishop Darius will bear fruit in a flourishing of vocations to the priesthood and the consecrated life in the Diocese of St. George’s-in-Grenada.
“The Church in Grenada must be prepared to die to selfishness and mistrust, and to rise to the task of building a new culture of love, unity, encouragement and loyalty as a Church of missionary disciples,” he added.
He told the congregation that the local Church can imitate its deceased Bishop by learning from his obedience and humility through self-sacrifice and suffering.
Bishop Darius died at a New York Hospital on April 26th while undergoing medical treatment for a prolonged illness, and was buried at the Cathedral Crypt on May 25th.
The Metropolitan Bishop recounted some moments he shared with the ailing Bishop Darius before he departed this life.
He said that during the Easter Week, Bishop Darius spoke twice to the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Nicolai Girasoli with a request to initiate a process for finding a solution for a way forward for the Church in Grenada in light of his prolonged illness.
“This, I had asked him to pray about. He was concerned about his health, but… in the midst of all his pain and suffering, and he spoke to me when I spoke to him in Holy Week of excruciating pain… he wept and made me weep… and in the midst of all that pain and suffering, he was more concerned about the pastoral care of the Church in Grenada than his own health and suffering,” he remarked.
Archbishop Rivas, a Dominican Brethren who had preached the homily during Bishop Darius’ Episcopal Ordination as a Bishop on October 2nd, 2002 said that was Bishop Darius last official communication with the Bishops’ Conference or the Nunciature.
“Bishop Vincent was given the privilege to suffer and to share in the Passion of Christ. In a real way, he lived the Paschal Mystery identifying with Christ in His Passion, Death and Resurrection, his moment of anguish and desolation as he experienced suffering… Bishop Vincent Darius has passed the test. He has been proved worthy through faithful suffering.
In a brief message coming from the Holy See which was read by the Celebrant of the Funeral Mass, Pope Francis expressed his deep gratitude for the life and service of Bishop Darius to the people of God.
The 60-year old Darius was the first Grenadian to become a Bishop, and the second Caribbean-born Dominican of the Order of Preachers in 500 years of evangelisation to become a Bishop.
The late Grenadian Bishop served in that capacity for 14 years.