Bishop Darius Passes On!!!

Bishop Darius 2Catholics across Grenada are mourning the passing of their spiritual leader – Bishop Vincent Darius, who is the head of the Diocese of St. George’s-in-Grenada.

His Lordship who was ill for a prolonged period of time died Tuesday at about 12:45 a.m. at the Bellevue Medical Centre in New York while undergoing medical treatment.
Bishop Darius was surrounded by his sisters, brothers and other close family members at the time of his death.

The condition of the Bishop who was suffering from kidney and liver ailment took a turn for the worst in the past few days as he was taken into the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICT).

During last Sunday’s mass at local churches across the island, some of the priests asked the congregation to continue praying for their Bishop as he was also being treated at the hospital for pneumonia.

Bishop Darius was a priest for 28 years, and a Bishop for 13 years.

His death came as the Church is celebrating 60 years as a Diocese.

The Grenadian-born Bishop who also spoke Spanish was well known for social justice issues, and always seeking what is right for the ordinary individual.

THE NEW TODAY understands that a process for the appointment of a new Catholic Bishop will begin shortly while Fr. Clifton Harris serves as Diocesan Administrator of the Diocese.

In an exclusive interview with this newspaper early Tuesday, Fr. Harris who will be in charge of the day-to-day operation of the local Church described Bishop Darius as a very humble person.

He said the Bishop was always there for the poor and marginalized and referred to his passing as a great loss for the Church.

Fr. Harris flew out of the island Tuesday for New York to meet with Bishop Darius’ relatives to make plans for the return of the body to Grenada and the funeral arrangements, which is likely to take place sometime next week.

While in New York, the clergyman will also preside over a Funeral Service at St. Matthew’s Roman Catholic Church before returning to the island with the body.

Bishop Emeritus Sydney Charles also shared some thoughts with THE NEW TODAY on the passing of Bishop Darius whom he said he first met in Trinidad while he was undergoing his priestly studies.

Bishop Charles who was the Chief Consecrator at the ordination ceremony of Darius as Bishop described him as someone who was very committed to the Church, and views his loss as being great for the local diocese.

Bishop Emeritus noted that Bishop Darius had a weight on his shoulder with respect to the debt that the church had to repay following the damages to its many buildings by Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

He said while his presence was needed in the diocese, he had to travel abroad raising funds to repay the debt.

“It is a deep loss, a deep loss to me personally. He was not only my Bishop, I had great respect (for him), he was my friend and I loved him very much. It is a great loss for me and the country that he served so well,”  said the retired Bishop Charles.

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell, a practicing Catholic himself, also issued a statement on behalf of the Government and People of the tri-island State on the passing of Bishop Darius.

It reads: “On behalf of the Government and People of Grenada, Prime Minister Dr. the Right Honourable Keith Mitchell extends condolences to the family, friends, and indeed, the Roman Catholic community, on the passing of Bishop Vincent Darius.

“We hail his years of service to not only the Roman Catholic Church, but the wider Grenadian community. Our first local Bishop, Darius had the privilege of leading the church through a period of great social changes, and he did so with humility and a deep sense of commitment to duty. Grenada has lost a worthy servant, and we are all saddened by his passing.”

The main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) headed by former Finance Minister Nazim Burke chipped in with its own statement following the death of the head of the local Catholic community.

Following is the full text of Burke’s statement: “It is with dismay and deep sadness that we learned that the Most Reverend Bishop Vincent Darius, Bishop of St. George’s in Grenada passed away at the Belle Vue Hospital, in New York, USA today (Tuesday).

Bishop Darius offered the whole of his life as a wonderful witness to Jesus Christ. A great listener with a passion for Social Justice, the people of Grenada and the region will surely testify of his love for humanity and his great enthusiasm for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

“Although he was unwell, he bore his pain with dignity, never ceasing to stay abreast of both religious and social issues locally, regionally and internationally. He was an example of what one can achieve through discipline and dedication and rose from humble beginnings to become the first local bishop of the Catholic Church in Grenada.

“On behalf of the entire membership of the National Democratic Congress, my family and on my own behalf, I wish to express my heartfelt condolences to his family, members of the clergy, Religious Brothers and Sisters, the entire Catholic community and the nation as a whole, on this sad occasion.

“We assure you of our prayers with the certainty that the Good Shepherd has already welcomed into Eternal life this generous and committed pastor of His flock. Our nation has lost an illustrious son.

May he rest in peace”.

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