The late Bishop Vincent Darius will make history later this month by becoming the first local to be buried underneath the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in St. George.
A spokesman for the church told THE NEW TODAY newspaper that the hierarchy of the church has taken the decision that Bishop Darius would be laid to rest at the Crypt, a sacred burial ground underneath the Church which is located on Church Street.
The chamber already holds the remains of Bishop Justice Fields, the first Catholic Bishop of the Diocese who died in 1957 at the age of 70.
A crypt can be described as a stone chambered burial vault used to store the deceased.
Crypts are usually found in cemeteries and under public religious buildings, such as churches or cathedrals.
Many royal families have built vast crypts containing the bodies of dozens of former royalty.
Church officials in Grenada are far advanced in making preparations for the return of the body of Bishop Darius from New York on May 18 and for the last rites at the Cathedral where His Lordship was the Chief Celebrant.
Bishop Darius died in a New York hospital last week Tuesday after a long battle against his ailments.
A church official told this newspaper that Father Clifton Harris and close family members are expected to fly back with the body which would be put in the care of Otway Bailey Funeral Home on the Carenage in St. George’s.
He said there was a great deal of sadness at the St. Matthew’s R.C Church in Brooklyn where the late Bishop served as a priest before he was appointed to head the local church in his homeland.
On Monday, there was a moving and touching service at the church for Bishop Darius. Many persons in Grenada were able to view the funeral service live on the internet.
According to the official, a ceremony was held last week at the church, located in the Utica/Flatbush area of Brooklyn to view the body of the 60-year old Bishop who hails from the small village of Crochu in St. Andrew South-east.
He said there was also a large turn out of mourners last week for the holding of a wake at the church for Bishop Darius and the mood was “very sad”.
He stated that the wake was originally planned for the home of a family member in New York but it had to be shifted to a much larger venue to accommodate the number of persons who wanted to attend the event.
This newspaper understands that the hierarchy of the church has put in place a local organising committee to finalise plans for the burial of the Catholic Bishop.
The spokesman said a decision was taken by the planning committee for the body to be taken from Otway Bailey Funeral Home on May 23 to the R.C Church in Crochu, the hometown village of the late Bishop for public viewing from 10.00 a.m to 5.00 p.m.
The viewing will end with a mass for the repose of the soul of the late Bishop.
Catholics from around the island will get a chance to view the body the following day on May 24 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception from 10.00 a.m to 7.00 p.m.
The official funeral service is planned for May 25 at the Cathedral at which a number of dignitaries including the Prime Minister, Governor-General, and top members of the Catholic Church in the region and at home, as well as other religious leaders in the country will be specially invited.
The official said that as part of the plans for the return of the body to Grenada, a procession will be held at the Catholic sacred ground at Battle Hill in St. Andrew South-east and this is being dedicated to the memory of the island’s first homegrown Bishop.
He spoke of a decision being taken by the hierarchy of the church to cancel all fund-raising activities within the Catholic Church as a mark of respect for the late Bishop Darius.
The church has been engaged in a massive fund-raising drive to raise millions of dollars to clear an outstanding loan contracted with a local bank to finance the rebuilding of the Cathedral that was badly damaged by Hurricane Ivan in 2004.
The late Bishop Darius had undertaken several overseas trips to raise funds for his church.
Meanwhile, the Grouping of Civil Society on the island have issued the following statement on the death of Bishop Darius.
“On the passing of Bishop Vincent Darius, the Grouping of Civil Society Organisations offers its sincere condolences to his family, friends, colleagues and the family of the Roman Catholic Diocese.
The Grouping of Civil Society Organisations evolved out of the initiatives which developed the Code of Political Conduct. We of the grouping particularly recall the role that Bishop Darius played as Chairman of the Conference of Churches Grenada during the election campaign period of 2008 when he refused to allow the Conference of Churches, Grenada to be used as a polarizing force within the country during this tense period.
“When a particular political party indicated to the Conference of Churches that it would not sign a Code of Political Conduct developed by Civil Society Organisations but was ready to sign a Code of Conduct developed by the Conference, it was advised by Bishop Darius that the Conference endorsed the Code developed by the Civil Society Organisations and the party was encouraged to sign on.
“The signing took place at the CCG’s office, one week after the official signing ceremony in which other parties participated. This action by the Conference of Churches, under Bishop Darius’ leadership contributed to the calm and peace which prevailed during a very tense election campaign period.
“The Grouping of Civil Society Organisations salutes the achievements and contributions of this esteemed local son! May he rest in peace!