The newly appointed Vicar for Clergy Fr John Persaud said that he plans to visit the diocese’s clergy to find out what their own needs and concerns are, so that they can give the best of themselves in the best possible way in their ministry.
He told Catholic Standard that he would also like to bring all of the clergy together on different occasions so that they can share and build brotherhood among themselves. “This can increase their effectiveness among the people they are called to serve,” Fr John said.
Vicars are priests who are appointed by the bishop, in this instance Bishop Francis Alleyne OSB, to share or assist him in the governance of the diocese in a particular area.
Fr Persaud initially left his home diocese in 2012 when he was called to serve as the Judicial Vicar for the Archdiocese of Port of Spain. This appointment was meant to be for one year but was extended to two.
The diocesan weekly reported that as this period came to an end, he was asked by the bishops of the Antilles Episcopal Conference to serve as their General Secretary. This appointment lasted four years and ended in November 2018 after which he returned to Guyana.
Fr Persaud explained that there are many dimensions to his new role but mainly he is responsible for the “spiritual and material well-being” and every aspect of the lives of all the clergy in the diocese. “Of course, if your clergy is happy then you will get much more out of them in terms of their ministry as priests in the diocese,” he said.
He observed that out of the 35 priests who were serving in Guyana when he left there six years ago, only nine are still there.
If he is to function as Vicar for Clergy, one of his first tasks will involve getting to know the clergy there. He says he will also have to create or update files on all the clergy so the pertinent information is available to him any time it is needed. This and other information, he said, is often requested but frequently not readily available, when, for example, a priest is applying to become a marriage officer.
Fr John Persaud