Rev Stephan Alexander, 39, experienced many emotions ahead of his ordination to the priesthood including, “wholeness through healing and communion with God’s people, love and openness”. This is grace from God he told the Catholic News via email September 10.
There was acceptance of solitude which comes with the life of the priest. He said “God has also allowed me to experience a great sense of aloneness which, though difficult, is an important part of the spiritual journey.” He felt overwhelmed with joy at having been blessed to journey to and through with his brother deacons who were also ordained.
Formation for the priesthood has awakened Rev Alexander’s “affective side” helping him to care more deeply about others, and has also helped him make “great strides in self-awareness and self-acceptance”.
Rev Alexander said the call to priesthood arose in his heart several times from early childhood to adulthood. Gasparillo born and raised, he is the eldest of Beresford and Seraphin Alexander’s four children. His younger siblings are Kyle, Berry and Naquita.
“The strongest sense of being called to priesthood arose when I was 13 after several Youth 2000 experiences, at age 16 as a Fourth Form student of St Benedict’s College and in 2008 after attending a ‘Choice’ Retreat. ”
His faith was heavily influenced by his mother and the late Fr Hilary Clarke, the priest-manager of the college.
Although he had these calls, he went on to become a lawyer and from 2006 was working at MG Daly and Partners where he became a senior associate.
Rev Alexander said vulnerability was a major challenge in his journey as a seminarian. There were moments when he felt abandoned and powerless.
“I felt that I was the only one being challenged to change in the midst of a system that was betraying me. Having left the ‘certainty’ of a great job and promising career, this was quite painful. At times this sense of vulnerability caused me to think about leaving but I persevered,” he said.
He has been busy since his ordination to the diaconate February 23 at the St Philip and St James Church, Chaguanas. Rev Alexander said apart from the liturgical ministry of the deacon, he was involved in all levels of parish life at St Francis of Assisi, Sangre Grande and St Martin de Porres, Coryal including catechesis, training of ministers for the liturgy and pastoral planning.
He added, “I have also continued my association with the Bethesda community and continue as a member of the organising team for the Archdiocesan School of Liturgy.”
Rev Alexander was also involved in the Conference on ‘Theology in the Caribbean Today’ which he attended in 2018 and 2019.
Rev Alexander said the gifts and talents he brings to the vocation of the priesthood are his willingness, and openness to growth and new ways of understanding things. “I am self-motivated,” he said.
People have told him he has a great love for people and ability to communicate effectively.
His call to priesthood has always centered on serving all God’s people, “…more particularly through the Sacraments of Eucharist and Reconciliation and through the apostolates of friendship, presence and confidence. This is what I most look forward to”.
Rev Alexander in his spare time enjoys reading and sports. He said football is his favourite sport and his team is Chelsea Football Club.
Fr Alexander celebrated his first Mass September 15, 7 a.m. at the Sacred Heart RC Church, Gasparillo. He will be based in the cluster with Sangre Grande/Coryal.