By Lara Pickford-Gordon
The ordination to the priesthood of Deacons Jeffrey Supersad and Lindsay John was long in coming but God was relentlessly in pursuit and brought them to this moment, Archbishop Jason Gordon said while delivering the homily at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Port of Spain, last Monday.
He emphasised although God can make a proposition to someone, there is a choice in responding. “It is always a proposal from God and that proposal requires a response…I suppose the only fitting response that we can have today is: ‘Here I am Lord, I come to do your will’ (Ps 40),” he said.
There was a large congregation in attendance, with additional chairs put out, and television screens erected for improved visibility. Local and regional clergy concelebrated and Deacons Kenneth Phillips from Scarborough and Kenwyn Sylvester assisted.
The ordination was held on the Feast of the Annunciation commemorating the Archangel Gabriel’s visit to the Virgin Mary when she was told she would be the mother of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Archbishop Gordon said the angel proposed to Mary her vocation—to conceive and bear a son to be named Jesus—and Deacons Supersad and John were proposed their vocation.
They were called to be consecrated, set apart “so that your life becomes a life of service for building up the body of Christ”. It was no longer about what they wanted but what Christ was asking them to do. He advised the ego has to die when encountering the living God because God and ego cannot occupy the same place.
The ordination was not a moment in isolation. Archbishop Gordon noted they both had a very long journey and asked them how long it took, to which Rev Supersad replied 30 years, and Rev John “ten plus”. As Mary said “yes” they too have said “yes” and the Holy Spirit will also overshadow and “prepare them for their vocation”.
He told the candidates for the priesthood, “It is God’s grace that step by step by step that has brought you to this moment”. The Archbishop highlighted their responsibility to lead people to the sacred mystery of the Eucharist, defend the most vulnerable in society and demonstrate love in “concrete, tangible ways”. He asked Deacons Supersad and John to entrust their lives and vocation to Mary and let her shape and mould them to become “a beloved disciple”.
The homily was preceded by the Liturgy of the Word and preparatory ceremony: Election of the Candidates who were presented by Rector of the Seminary of St John Vianney and Uganda Martyrs, Msgr Allan Ventour.
After the homily the Rite of Ordination continued, including the Laying on of Hands in which the Holy Spirit is invoked and the vesting with the garments of priestly office. It was a powerful moment as the families of both men assisted—Fr Supersad’s brother Colin, sister Rae-Ann Ramlochansingh and niece Leanne Narine. Fr John was clothed by his parents Selwyn and Diana.
There was applause even before the Archbishop introduced the new priests to the congregation and it continued afterwards. Frs Supersad and John joined the Archbishop to continue the liturgy, participating in the Consecration for the first time.
The tradition of new priests giving the first blessing to their bishop continued and Archbishop Gordon subsequently appealed for the congregation “not to take all their grace on this occasion” when it was time for them to receive a blessing. Before the final blessing, Frs Supersad and John thanked their families, Archbishop Gordon and others.