Hundreds of villagers from Felix Park, Crochu and nearby areas, as well as students in the parish and surroundings showed up Monday to pay their last respects to late Bishop Vincent Darius at the St. Martin DePorres Parish Church in the heart of Crochu in St. Andrew.
The Spiritual leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Grenada passed away on April 26, at the age of 60 at a hospital in New York where he had traveled for treatment.
Leading the tributes was Parish Administrator for St. Martin de Porres, Deacon Cecil St. Louis who described the late Bishop as a “people’s person, (who was) very, very, open to everyone (and) had an open office all the time”.
“He is from this community and we were able to bring his body back to the community, so that his people can come in and pay their final respects to him”, he told THE NEW TODAY.
“Anybody could have called him (on the phone) anytime and he took the call, anybody could have just walked into his office and he would accommodate them. He was always looking out especially for those who are vulnerable and in need. He was always willing to help. He was a very, very friendly person and nobody can claim that he had a harsh word for them”, he said.
The younger brother of the deceased, Francis Darius was among those who converged at the Church to witness Bishop Darius’ body lying in state.
He told reporters that the Bishop was a lover of people and community and one “who had a passion for bringing people together from since (in his) childhood days”.
He also regarded his deceased brother as “a very passionate person about family”.
Reflecting on his brother’s life, Francis Darius said that he focused his “whole life” on being “a calling to bring people together”.
He stated that Bishop Darius “went beyond the Catholic (faith with his) ministry (which) was about just bringing people to Christ”.
“We do have a humanitarian aspect of the church and that is focused on reaching the needy and is not limited to Catholics (but) is for people in need”, he said.
He added that Bishop Darius “reached out to the other denominations (and) had a good working relationship with the non-catholic community, but very much so, tried to revive the church (to) make it more
appealing and vibrant at all levels”.
THE NEW TODAY caught up with a childhood friend of Bishop Darius and former Member of Parliament for St. Andrew South-east, Cuthbert Mc Queen, who reflected on the years growing up with him in the Felix Park community.
The former parliamentarian also used the opportunity to laud the late Bishop’s accomplishment as the first Grenadian Bishop to be installed in the country.
“He has made us (the Felix Park community) very proud. We were never expecting that, for our first Grenadian Bishop coming from Felix Park.
I am very proud to see that he has achieved such a great deal”, Mc Queen said.
Before venturing into the priesthood the late Bishop Darius was a teacher at the St Joseph’s R. C. School in Pomme Rose, St. David.
Former teacher at St. Joseph’s R. C. and former Principal of Holy Cross Roman Catholic School, Helena Patrice, remembers the late Bishop as “being a very pleasant, peaceful, humble, joyful person who loved little children and was always easy to approach”.
A tribute was also given by Acting Chief Education Officer, Vincent Morain who described the late Bishop Vincent Darius as “a personal friend”.
“I was associated directly with him because he was our Spiritual Director in the Mary Rose Mission. He was also our Spiritual Director in the Family Life Encounter (and) for the Marriage Encounter Commission. He gave me a lot of spiritual wisdom and instilled in me a lot of love for the old and the elderly. He was the person that throughout his life remained humble and his humility prevailed him to the highest order.
“The Diocese of Grenada has lost a great son of the soil and the community of Grenada as a whole. As Christians we believe that God created everybody and he gives and he takes. He has his master plan and as Christians we have to console ourselves with that and accept it. Bishop Vincent Darius will be greatly missed.
The late Bishop Vincent Darius died while receiving treatment at a medical facility in New York.
He was the fourth Bishop of St. George’s and the first Grenadian Bishop to be installed.
He was appointed on July 10, 2002, by then Pope John Paul II and was installed as Bishop of St. George’s on October 2, 2002 in the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception, St George’s.
The body of Bishop Darius was laid to rest Wednesday in a specially prepared tomb in the Crypt of the Cathedral next to the tomb of the first Bishop of the Diocese of St. George’s-in- Grenada, Justin Field O.P.