By Kaelanne Jordan
Rev Kwesi Alleyne has said that while people have asked his thoughts on becoming a priest: “Are you ready?”; “Yuh excited?”; “How yuh feeling?”, it’s hard to express exactly what’s going on inside of him but for the most part he feels calm.
He says he sees the wisdom of the Church in placing a period of service as a deacon prior to priestly ordination. “You begin to see yourself in new ways in ministry and it’s a wonderful platform to enter into one’s call to serve as a priest,” the then deacon told Catholic News days prior to his September 14 ordination. In hindsight, Rev Alleyne acknowledged a few moments that come to mind that represent certain important thresholds for him.
He remembers as a little boy looking over the pew at Mass and being “drawn” to what was going on in the sanctuary.
“Msgr [Kenneth] Spence spoke of and celebrated the Eucharist with a reverence which attracted me. In no way did I feel called to do what he was doing but for me this was a real seed of faith, a lived encounter with Jesus….”
Little by little, as he got older, he would choose, at the prompting of his cousin, to make the Sunday Eucharist a central part of his life.
In his early teens, he got more involved in Church as an altar server and as a member of GRACE Music Ministry.
Rev Alleyne said “Scene II” happened at home watching the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Fishers of Men video.
“It blew me away,” he said, adding that he was not only drawn to the adventure but the prospect of giving his life radically and joyfully to something that mattered—to a “Jesus project” of salvation that had such power to touch lives.
“I just wanted to give myself. It was one moment but it describes a time, a season of my life,” he said.
He told Catholic News that he would entertain the thought of priestly vocation but it was still “all up in the air” for him. Life continued rather ordinarily but his desire moved him to explore, struggle, pray and reflect.
Rev Alleyne once worked as a Process Systems Engineer, after which he entered the seminary in March 2011. He said that he left that career path because he felt the need to pursue the way that resonated most deeply with his inner core.
He said after coming to a space of honesty with himself, he had to admit that this—priesthood— was what was resting on his heart.
So what gifts are Fr Alleyne bringing to the priesthood? He brings a joyful countenance, a voice and love for music, and an open disposition. Fr Alleyne also brings an experience of Church in different contexts, a Spanish competency, and a willingness to learn. “I bring a systematic thinking cap. I bring me,” he said.
Fr Alleyne now looks forward to journeying with people and helping people grow in God. He said he is awed and humbled at the prospect of celebrating the Eucharist at his first Mass (Sunday, September 15) at his home parish of St Philip and St James, Chaguanas, and of being given a “window” into the inner sanctum of another person’s soul in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Fr Alleyne will continue his service in the parish of Our Lady of the Assumption, Toco/Matelot.