Faith is a familiar face to James Andre ‘Charlo’ Bartholomew of Tortuga parish. It steadied him after the horrific murder of his father, Charles, an estate overseer, and the sudden loss of his mother after an accidental fall.
Before advancing age brought failing eyesight, he devotedly read from the Book of Psalms as part of his daily routine. So for his birthday on November 29, it seemed to be a case of receiving a blessing of 97 years and claiming one extra, on faith! Fading faculties elicited a chuckle as Charlo celebrated what was thought to be his 98th year but which his birth certificate later showed to be one year less.
Agnes ‘Ma Choon’ Bartholomew (née Rostant), had two girls and five boys, of whom Charlo is the third and only surviving sibling. Apart from God’s grace, what is the secret to long life? “Prayer,” he answers. Charlo celebrated his birthday saying, “I have a smile in my heart, you know” and “I eh rude, I eh mannish and I full of respect!”
On Sunday December 2, parish priest Fr Jose Marie Thekkekutte MSFS offered Mass at Our Lady of Montserrat in thanksgiving for the former acolyte and sexton.
Tortuga parish is blessed to have Charlo within its family, along with elders Elton Rostant, Daphne Rostant (no relation), Najab, Cephus Baptiste and Eugene James, all into their 90s and counting, buoyed on faith! – Lu-Anne Guevara