By Lara Pickford-Gordon, firstname.lastname@example.org
Setting the tone for his episcopate, Bishop Clyde Harvey made a personal pledge, to Grenada and its entire people, for the country’s future symbolised by its young: to work faithfully “seeking the common good with them and for them”.
The newest bishop of the Antilles Episcopal Conference (AEC) said, “I offer in word and deed the social teaching of our Church as light and yeast for the further development of Grenada.” He called for togetherness and summoned his flock to advance as “one people, one family under God”.
Hundreds gathered July 29 at the Spice Basket Theatre, Beaulieu, St George’s, for the ordination of the fifth bishop of St George’s-in-Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, which are part of the ecclesiastical province of the Archdiocese of Castries.
In his remarks towards the end of the celebration, Bishop Harvey drew attention to the programme cover photo, captioned, “From the market to the Cathedral and back”, which shows the Cathedral at the top of the hill and the market below. He asked the faithful to remember the importance of the marketplace in the history of Grenada and its function as a place of assembly.
“If we are to be truly Church, we must climb that steep hill to go up to our Cathedral yes! But we must never stay in the Cathedral. We must go down into that marketplace again … and I ask you to join me in doing that,” he said, to great applause.
Bishop Harvey said holiness and sanctity was not only about reciting prayers but the extent to which people allowed Christ to do His work in them and to which they were ready to make the necessary climbs in their personal, spiritual and social life, no matter how difficult, for it is in that climbing the living God is found.
“The Church is one of the difficult hills you have to climb sometimes,” the Bishop said. Even if persons failed to behave as Christians, that too was “part of the climb,” he added. “Let us keep that hill before our eyes and never fail God in climbing it”.
While the Spice Basket was not the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in St George’s, an image of the Cathedral’s sanctuary was used as a backdrop and a large-scale reproduction of the Cathedral tower was erected at the entrance of the venue.
Among the dignitaries in attendance were Cardinal Kelvin Felix, heading the list of prelates, Governor-General Dame Cécile La Grenade and Minister Gregory Bowen deputising for Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell. Many visiting clergy and religious, and representatives of the Grenada Conference of Churches were also in attendance.
Shortly after 11 a.m. female dancers made their way up the aisles of the auditorium stepping to the rhythm of the Swahili gospel song Nita Mwimbiya Bwana (‘Sing now to God our Saviour’), as an introduction to what would turn out to be a most joyful celebration. The combined choir then led the Entrance Hymn ‘Tell of My Love’, composed many years ago by Bishop Harvey.
During a brief welcome, Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Nicola Girasoli said Pope Francis had appointed a “great priest and great man of the Church”. On behalf of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, he thanked Fr Clifton Harris OP, for his work as diocesan administrator in the interim, before the appointment of the new Bishop. Archbishop Girasoli expressed his joy at concluding his mission as Nuncio for the Antilles with the episcopal ordination, saying, “I could not receive from God a greater gift”.
All the Mass Readings were taken from the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart. The First Reading Deuteronomy 7:6–11 was done by Sr Maureen Alexander SJC and the Second, 1 John 4:7–16, by Elffy Fritz, sister of the Bishop. Deacon Raphael Johnson proclaimed the Gospel, Matthew 11:25–30. Archbishop Robert Rivas of Castries delivered the homily (see Page 11).
The Ordination Rite began with the singing of the Veni Creator Spiritus, invoking of the Holy Spirit. Fr Michael Opoku presented the Bishop-elect to Archbishop Girasoli who invited Fr Harris to read the Apostolic letter from the Holy See. The “Consent of the people” was expressed in the singing of the choruses ‘Thank You Lord’ and ‘Say Yes’ (Chorus: “When Jesus say yes, nobody can say no”).
As part of the Rite, Principal Consecrator Archbishop Girasoli asked the Bishop-elect about his resolve to uphold the faith and discharge his duties. In responding to the question about his readiness “to serve the people of God, following the example of the Master who stooped and washed the feet of his disciples”, the Bishop-elect, instead of giving a verbal response, washed the feet of “some of those entrusted to his care”. Archbishop Joseph Harris and Bishop Emeritus of St George’s Sydney Charles were co-consecrators.
Before the Prayer of Consecration, each bishop led by Archbishop Girasoli approached the kneeling Bishop-elect and laid hands on him, in silence. The Rite also included the Anointing of the Bishop’s Head, Presentation of the Book of the Gospels, and his investiture with ring, mitre and crozier (pastoral staff), after which Archbishop Girasoli escorted Bishop Harvey to his chair, the cathedra. The new Bishop then presided over the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
The ceremony lasted four hours but neither the duration nor humidity was able to dampen the fervour of the locals and visiting T&T nationals, witnessing a special moment of history.