The Diocese of Bridgetown boosted its clerical pool with four ordinations before a packed congregation at the St Patrick’s Cathedral June 5.
Archbishop Jason Gordon of Port of Spain, Diocesan Administrator, presided over the ordinations of Rev Dr Winston Layne, formerly of the Anglican faith, to the Presbyterate, and Michael Gonsalves, Fabian Alexander, and Alphonsus Joseph to the permanent Diaconate. All four are married with children.
“In your ordination… your promise is to serve, that you will be servants of the servants of Christ,” Archbishop Gordon told the four men according to a Barbados Today report. “This is not a moment of elevation; this is a moment of deeper service. The call and your answering the call has brought you to a place where you are ready to serve the body of Christ in a deeper way; to make yourself of service to all of God’s people; to put forward before people the truth in season and out of season; and to be a tireless worker in the Kingdom of God, demonstrating by work and example what it is to participate in the life of the Church.”
To the three candidates for the diaconate, the archbishop said, “Your call to the Diaconate is to join that original order of deacons that the apostles set apart.”
Using biblical references, Archbishop Gordon said that these men will do the “waiting on the tables and the distributing of the works for the poor so that the apostles could be free to do what their vocation is in the prayer, in the preaching and the presiding.”
To Rev Layne, Archbishop Gordon said, “To be called to the priesthood is to be called to be a consummate lover of God and God’s people. You have been called to feed the sheep from the table of the Lord… the table of His Word, the table of His Eucharist.”
In a ceremony lasting just over an hour, the men went through rites of being called, and the presentation and examination of candidates for the two Catholic vocations.
Fr Layne shared, “For me, the priesthood is a way of life. It is the best way I believe I can live out my consciousness of being, the best way I can give expression to my true self, my way of being Christian.”
Rev Alexander stated that his ordination is an answer to years of praying and waiting on God. “This is the beginning of a new chapter in my life,” he said.
Meanwhile Rev Gonsalves said, like his wedding vows, which he took as a serious, lifetime commitment before God, the acceptance of the Sacred Order of the Diaconate will be a lifetime commitment to the service of God and to His Church.
Rev Joseph said he has always sensed that God was calling him to something more, to serve in the mission of the Church in a special way… “Ordination to the Diaconate is my abandonment of myself and my will to God’s call.”