The Diego Martin/Petit Valley/Crystal Stream cluster bid farewell to Fr Harold Imamshah at a Mass on January 25 at the Church of the Nativity, Crystal Stream, Diego Martin.
Fr Harold, of the Diocese of Alexandria, Louisiana, has been granted leave to serve in the Archdiocese while caring for his elderly mother, Enid. He dedicated the Mass to her and in solidarity with Venezuela and Venezuelans in this country seeking a better life.
Fr Imamshah mentioned the 20th anniversary of priestly ordination of cluster moderator Fr Christopher Lumsden on January 24, and the 13th anniversary of Fr Cornelius Phillip on January 22.
Fr Lumsden concelebrated the Mass, with Deacons Michael Smith and Derek Walcott assisting. Prayers were offered for Fr Leo Donovan OP, former parish priest who was unwell.
Before the Penitential Rite, Fr Imamshah asked for forgiveness acknowledging that interactions were not always easy. Delivering the homily, Deacon Walcott said St Paul’s conversion (Acts 22:3–16; 9:1–22) offers a model to full unity in Christ.
It required conversion, from division to communion, from fake unity to real unity. He said all parishioners in the cluster and all Catholics were members of the Church which is one and holy. Deacon Walcott said conversion requires two dimensions, the first step was recognising one’s faults in the light of Christ and being conquered by Christ as St Paul was (Phil 3:12).
He commented, “I have no idea what Fr Harold was coming with when he said ‘pray for me and my sins and let us all pray for our sins’ and this recognition becomes sorrow and repentance.”
Deacon Walcott continued that being conquered by Christ is displayed in the humility of one who puts himself without reservation in the service of Christ and all.
“We saw that in Fr Harold. We saw him giving himself in full service for Christ and for all; we could be assured he was here every time he was in Trinidad offering up the Sacrament of Reconciliation before Holy Mass…and it is only in this renunciation of ourselves that in this conforming to Christ that we are united among ourselves,” Deacon Walcott said.
Fr Imamshah gave an account of his stewardship listing 21 “milestones” some of which were highlighted by Barry Lee of the St Anthony’s/Nativity parish council.
These included: establishment of the Christmas Novena at the Church of the Nativity December 2014; introduction and distribution of the Precious Blood at all Masses at Nativity; and increased frequency of healing Masses, supervised and organised restoration of Nativity Church after the earthquake in August to ensure re-opening September 2018.
On behalf of the parish, Lee said he accepted Fr Harold’s request for forgiveness and also asked forgiveness as a parish. He said it has been “an interesting five and a half years” and extended gratefulness to Fr Imamshah’s mother as because of her, he shared his talents with the parish.
Lee said, “As you move on, we ask the Lord to really continue to bless you and to keep you and to give you the strength that is necessary to do the bidding God has called you to do.”
Tokens of appreciation were presented to Fr Imamshah who, known for his love of music responded using the melody of ‘Que Sera Sera’ and substituted his own words. After the Mass there was a sharing. Fr Imamshah often encouraged fellowship after Mass for festive moments in the church. – LPG