The outbreak of the deadly Ebola disease in three West African states have put a hold on plans by the Roman Catholic Church in Grenada to recruit priests from that part of the world.
This was confirmed to THE NEW TODAY newspaper by the Vicar-General of the church, Father Clifton Harris on Monday.
He said that the church had identified two African priests but that they will no longer be coming to Grenada in the foreseeable future due to the Ebola epidemic.
According to Fr, Harris. the Roman Catholic Church in Grenada has been made aware of a policy decision taken by government on the movement into the country of persons from some parts of Africa.
“It’s basically on hold (bringing in the priests). There is a government advisory with respect to the travel of persons from West Africa and Nigeria”, he said.
He said the church had expected two priests from Nigeria to come into the island very soon but this will have to be pushed back to sometime next year.
The Roman Catholic Church has been on a hunt to find priests in recent months due to a shortage of clergymen.
The church has been forced in recent times to use a number of Deacons and trained lay persons known as Eucharistic Ministers to carry out regular Sunday mass in several parishes.
Fr. Harris recently visited Nigeria to try and identify priests who are willing to come to the Grenada diocese.
To date, he has been able to attract one African priests who is originally from Nigeria but has been operating in Sierra Leone.
The priest is now serving in the city at the Cathedral.
Speculation is rife in church circles that African priests are reluctant to serve in Grenada due to the attitude of some persons within the church to them.
Fr. Ronald Holder at the Roman Catholic Church at St. Paul’s used one of his Sunday sermons to appeal to the congregation to change their attitude towards the Priests.