Speculation is rife within some quarters of the Roman Catholic Church in Grenada that a Trinidadian is the leading candidate to take up the role as Bishop of the Diocese of St. George’s-in-Grenada.
A replacement Bishop is needed in the local diocese following the death of His Lordship Bishop Vincent Darius, the first Grenadian-born Bishop who died in New York on April 26 following a prolonged illness.
A high level source within the church told THE NEW TODAY newspaper he doubts whether any member of the local clergy is being considered to take up the leadership role of the Catholic community in Grenada.
The source who spoke on condition of not being named said the name being mentioned frequently is Fr. Clyde Martin Harvey as the person most likely to get the nod to become the fifth Bishop of the Diocese of St. George’s-in-Grenada.
Fr. Harvey is currently the Parish Priest of the Holy Rosary/St. Martin’s East, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad.
The late Archbishop of Port-of-Spain, His Grace Anthony Pantin, ordained him a priest in 1976.
The Pope is the person who makes the final decision on the new Bishop for the Spice Isle.
However, he acts on the advice of the Regional Apostolic Nuncio (the Pope’s Representative to the Antilles Episcopal Conference) who would have sought the views of various people including members of the Clergy, Religious and Laity considered to be responsible and knowledgeable about the suitability of the potential candidate.
During a Press Conference held at Norton Hall on Church Street, St. George’s last week Thursday, spokesman for the diocese, Fr. Sean Doggett told members of the media there is no timeframe for the selection of a Bishop.
“It could be very quick, it could take years. But hopefully it would be pretty quick because I know the (Apostolic) Nuncio is very much on top of these things. I know he is not somebody remote. He is a hands-on type of person, so he has been to Grenada many, many, times.
He has visited the other dioceses, he knows the priests, he knows us very well,” he said.
According to Fr. Sean, as it stands now the diocese has no idea who will be the next Chief Shepherd.
“That’s totally up to the Apostolic Nuncio, what names he sends and I know his enquiries are ongoing and it will be continuous, and that’s part of his job as Nuncio. So he knows priests in the region, priests outside the region, Grenadians and it’s totally up to the Holy Father to make the decision,” he said.
The Diocesan spokesman disclosed that persons consulted by the Nuncio are required not to breach his confidence and to reveal to anyone that he was approached by the Pope’s representative to identify the possible successor for Bishop Darius.
The Roman Catholic Cleric said theoretically anybody who is a priest could be chosen as a Bishop.
However, he quickly added that to qualify to become a Bishop, the priest must have ten years behind his belt as a cleric, be no less than 40 years of age, and must not be beyond the age of 75, which is the retirement age.
“Normally it’s a priest who is well qualified since he would have the teaching role, so he should be very well qualified from that point of view, and also, hopefully have some leadership qualities… and be somebody that people can be happy to accept to follow,” Fr. Sean said.
Bishop Darius’ body was expected back on the island Wednesday, accompanied by members of his family on American Airlines flight #1546 at 6.55 p.m.
It will be taken straight to Otway Bailey Funeral home on the Carenage for preparation for viewing over the next week.
The body will be taken to the sister isle of Carriacou for viewing on Thursday and Friday.
The next time the public will get a chance to view the remains of the Bishop is Monday at the St. Martin de Porres Church in Crochu – the village where the island’s first Catholic Bishop was born.
Arrangements are also being made for government leaders including Governor-General, Dame Cecile LaGrenade, and Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell to view the body at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Church Street sometime on Tuesday.
The final rites for Bishop Darius will be on Wednesday following Mass at the Cathedral starting at 10.00 a.m.
The Bishop will be placed in a special tomb at the Crypt underneath the Church that holds the remains of four other religious figures – including the first Catholic Bishop of the Diocese, Justin Fields.
A Catholic bulletin said that after the service, “clergy and family members only will leave the church for the Crypt”.
“All parishioners shall remain in the Church for the announcement of the burial. Ushers or family members to be identified to assist the undertakers to take flowers to the Crypt”, it added.