By Kaelanne Jordan
The Board of Directors, management, staff and students of New Life Organization (NEWLO) have vowed to continue the legacy that their “visionary” Bishop Emeritus Sydney Charles founded some 34 years ago.
This assurance was given by NEWLO’s Executive Director, Sr Margaret Yamoah HHCJ in an emotional tribute at the Vigil and Office of the Dead for Bishop Charles, Thursday, September 27 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, St George’s, Grenada.
Sr Yamoah, a member of the Handmaids of the Holy Child Jesus Congregation, said that the success stories of all 3,500 “vulnerable” youth of Grenada are “testament and fact” that indeed NEWLO is the best thing that ever happened in the diocese.
“He believed in the beauty and goodness in every human person and learning in the right environment, programmes, development and guidance. Every young person had to reach their fullest potential. Old age did not prevent him from fully participating in every event that took place at NEWLO.”
Tributes flowed from the Sisters of St Joseph of Cluny; the Catholic Charismatic Movement; Men’s League; Society of St Vincent de Paul; Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother; Presentation Brothers; Cursillo Movement; People of Praise Community; Youth Ministry; and the clergy and government of Grenada.
In delivering the Rite of Reconciliation, Bishop Clyde Harvey said that one of the greatest acts of charity that one can do for the deceased is to pray that God will forgive them all their sins. In a similar way, he then called on those gathered to pray for Bishop Charles.
“He knew his own sinfulness, the ways in which he just did not measure up to what God asked of him…. But as we know God judges not on appearances but the Lord judges our hearts. We all fall short…So we ask the Lord to forgive all his sins, the sins of a human being, the sins as a priest, the sins as a bishop shepherding the flock but failing as all bishops do” to feed the flock as the Lord expects us.
The eulogy was prepared by Bishop Charles’ first nephew Peter Charles and delivered by his daughter Amanda La Caille, Bishop Charles’ grand-niece. A video presentation was then shown in memory of Bishop Charles.
Grenada’s Governor General Dame Cecile La Grenade sat in the first pew and the Missionaries of Charity Sisters filled the third, fourth and fifth pews, while the bishop’s relatives occupied the first pews on the other side of the aisle.
The service commenced with religious sisters from different orders and congregations processing Bishop Charles’ body from in front of the sanctuary to the baptismal font near the Cathedral’s entrance. At the font Bishop Harvey, Vicar General Carl Haynes, Cathedral Administrator Fr Andrew Barnard, other priests and deacons all sprinkled the coffin with holy water. The coffin was then returned to in front the sanctuary for the liturgy.
The Vigil included recitation of the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary led by Legionaries, and the Office for the Dead evening prayer by the Missionaries of Charity.
The reverencing of the body was led by Bishop Harvey followed by the blessing and dismissal at 8.45 p.m.