A humble former Episcopal Delegate for Youth Winston Garcia was commended last Sunday for his Christian witness to young people of the Archdiocese.
A farewell Mass, January 27, to give thanks for his years of service was celebrated at St Benet Hall, Mt St Benedict. It was organised by the staff of the Catholic Youth Commission (CYC) which Garcia headed before retiring in December to refocus his energies on the ecclesial community he co-founded, People of Praise (PoP).
The Archdiocesan Festival Choir comprising members of various choirs lent their voices and music in honour of their regular conductor. Archbishop Jason Gordon was the main celebrant; Fr Harold Imamshah concelebrated; and Deacon Lennox Toussaint assisted.
Some heads of archdiocesan departments, commissions, offices, ecclesial communities, as well as family and friends made up the congregation.
Garcia served for nine years in the position; he was appointed post-Archdiocesan Synod 2009 by then Archbishop Edward Gilbert CSsR and continued under Archbishop Joseph Harris CSSp and Archbishop Gordon.
Preaching on last Sunday’s reading, in particular the Second Reading from 1 Corinthians (we, though many, form one body), the Archbishop said each Christian has a scripture passage to help them connect with God, “set them in motion” and be part of His body. He said Garcia always witnessed to this “vital connection” in the service of the Kingdom.
Archbishop Gordon said Garcia’s “deepest and greatest pain” may well be the challenge of getting the various parts of Christ’s body working together, and remarked that that “cancer needs to be cut out”. He ended saying the best way to thank Garcia for his service was if everyone worked towards becoming the body of Christ.
Before the final blessing, the Archbishop gave his own personal thanks to Garcia through the “sufferings and joys”, and a CYC representative presented a floral bouquet to Garcia’s wife, Debbie, to thank her as well as their five children for “lending” Winston for youth ministry. A sharing followed the Mass.
Archbishop Gordon is to appoint a new Episcopal Delegate for Youth soon.—RS