The funeral service for diocesan priest Fr Keith Hardless will take place 10 a.m. Monday, April 1 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Brickdam. His body will be taken to the Good Hope crematorium at noon.
‘Fr Keith’, as he was fondly remembered went into cardiac arrest and died while receiving medical attention on the morning of Thursday, March 14. He was 75.
Although he had been ailing for some time, his death still filled many with a sense of shock and great loss, the diocesan weekly Catholic Standard reported.
Born in Myanmar (formerly Burma), Fr Keith studied for the priesthood in the United Kingdom. While a student at the Drygrange seminary in Scotland, he was accepted by then Bishop Lester Gully SJ (deceased) of Georgetown to serve in the diocese.
Fr Keith was ordained a priest in April 1971 in the UK, and came to Guyana five months later in September. His first appointment was as assistant priest at Our Lady of the Mount parish, where he worked with his former classmate Fr Michael Savage. He eventually spent all his life as a priest in that parish, and served in Guyana for almost 48 years.
Fr Keith served under three bishops: Bishop Gully, Bishop Benedict Singh (deceased) and current head of the diocese, Bishop Francis Alleyne OSB. In a comment on his passing, Bishop Alleyne said Fr Keith, in the last few years, dealt admirably with a delicate medical condition and in spite of his infirmity and limitations, put himself on the regular roster for Mass and other duties.
“It was often mentioned to me that he offered instructive and inspiring reflections which people looked forward to and now will miss,” Bishop Alleyne said.
Bishop Alleyne observed that as a young priest, Fr Keith committed himself to the Church and country, in contrast to many young people who, in looking to invest in their future, turn their gaze outside of Guyana. “We give God thanks for his life and ministry and confidently commend him to God. Well done good and faithful servant,” he said.
The publication reported that when the diocese was reorganised and a new structure of parish clusters was introduced, Fr Keith was appointed a member of the team of priests who served the Central cluster.
The leader of that cluster, Vicar General Msgr Terrence Montrose told Catholic Standard that “Fr Hardless contributed a lot to the ideas of how to get our cluster in a good and satisfactory way. He will be sorely missed for the guidance that we received….” – KJ