A historic moment. That’s how Archbishop Jason Gordon described the ordination ceremony of Kirt Prospere and Dr Winston Layne to the Order of Deacons, December 12. Archbishop Gordon, who was then Archbishop-elect, was the main celebrant for the Solemn Mass at the St Patrick’s RC Cathedral.
The last Barbadian to be ordered to the transitional Diaconate was Msgr Vincent Harcourt Blackett who was ordained a deacon 43 years ago. “What we are witnessing here today is a historic moment because as these two men step forward, they break a cycle of our Church that should never be repeated again. And whereas we have Moses who comes from Kenya, we have Omar who comes from Dominica and they are part of our Church and parcel of this life of ours, we still need to find men and women of this land who will be willing to say ‘Yes’ to Christ,” Archbishop Gordon said.
In delivering his homily, the diocese’s Apostolic Administrator said that Deacon Layne’s journey to his ordination had taken him through the path of the Anglican tradition.
Until recently he was a married Anglican priest, but through a process of discernment, Deacon Layne became a Catholic and asked for Holy Orders.
He explained, “…Even after coming to speak with me, he spent one year discerning the call, working with a spiritual director and a mentor for one year. Over and over asking the singular question ‘Is God calling me to this?’ or ‘Am I hearing voices that I should just shut up and move on with my life?’.
And at the end of a long process, Winston discerned that his call was to become a Catholic and was received into the Church last year on the Feast of Our Lady. And today he comes to the next stage.”
Archbishop Gordon said that the Bridgetown diocese requested “special dispensation” from Rome for deacon Layne to become a transitional deacon as a married man.
“And this is not new to us. The Catholic Church has always had married priests, but we don’t know that. They reside in the Eastern Rite of the Catholic Church. But a deacon who is on the way to priesthood who is married, now that’s an important and very special vocation,” Archbishop Gordon said.
Commenting on Deacon Prospere’s journey, the archbishop said that after meeting him in September 2011, one week after becoming the bishop, he began to journey with him on his discernment to the priesthood. He believed that ordaining Prospere two weeks before he leaves the diocese, to take up his assignment in Port of Spain, “brings the cycle to a close”.
“I see it as God’s continuous blessings. Calling men and women to answer God’s call has been, is and will ever be an important part of my apostolate as a bishop.
He continued, “Today as we come under our Lady of Guadalupe, we move another step forward towards the localising our Church. Towards calling forth Barbadians to give themselves completely to Christ in every vocation Christ will be calling you to, no matter what that call is. Be courageous, do not be afraid….” Archbishop Gordon said.
The Ordination ceremony continued with the Calling and Presentation of the Candidates followed by the Election, and Consent of the People, Invitation to Prayer and the Laying on of Hands.
During the Promise of Obedience rite, each of the candidates went to the archbishop and kneeling before him, he placed his hands on the head of each, in silence. After the Prayer of Consecration, the vested deacons received the Kiss of Peace.