By Fr Christopher Lumsden
Postulator – Cause of Beatification & Canonisation, Archbishop Anthony Pantin
(in collaboration with the Pantin family & Archdiocesan archives)
“The family finds in the plan of God the Creator and Redeemer not only its identity, what it is, but also its mission, what it can and should do. The role that God calls the family to perform in history derives from what the family is; its role represents the dynamic and existential development of what it is. Each family finds within itself a summons that cannot be ignored, and that specifies both its dignity and its responsibility: family, become what you are” (#17 Familiaris Consortio),
Archbishop Charles Jason Gordon has called the Archdiocese of Port of Spain to “become what we are”. To do this we are reflecting and revisiting together what it means for all members of the family to participate in the active role of making Christ the head of the home and its importance for a civilisation of love.
On the occasion of what would have been the 91st birthday of Archbishop Gordon Anthony Pantin, we remember how he taught us that this call, ever ancient and ever new – “It Is All God’s Work!”
Date of Birth: August 27, 1929
Ordination: July 3, 1955
Episcopal Consecration: March 19, 1968
Died: March 12, 2000
Baptism Name: Anthony
Parents: Julian Andrew Pantin & Eugenie Agnes Pantin
As Roman Catholics, we are called to sacramentalise our family life within our liturgical year through Church teaching and scripture. The Catechism of the Catholic Church #1656 teaches that with this participation of the domestic community in the life of the Church, parents who are described as the first heralds of the faith should encourage their children in the vocation that is proper to each child. Certainly, we can agree that the parents of Archbishop Pantin fulfilled that duty.
“The priest has a special place in family ministry. It is his duty to bring the nourishment and consolation of the word of God, the sacraments, and other spiritual aids to the family, encouraging it and in a human and patient way, strengthening it in charity so that families which are truly outstanding can be formed (cf 52 Gaudium et Spes). One precious fruit of this ministry, along with others, ought to be the flourishing of priestly and religious vocations” (#18, Synod of Bishops 1980).
Some details of his coat of arms bears this reality as described by the designer William F J Ryan.
Pope John Paul II also recognised this precious fruit of Archbishop Pantin’s ministry on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of his episcopal ordination. He wrote (unofficial English translation from Latin): “…great will be the rejoicing of the whole Church of Port of Spain, of which you are a son, and have, in an eminent manner, lived out your priestly ministry, where for twenty-five continuous years, you have efficaciously and wisely fulfilled your episcopal duty. This joy is augmented by the fact that you, Venerable Brother, are not only revered as an excellent Pastor, but are, moreover, the first native Bishop of this Archdiocese…If we wish to dwell on a few of your qualities and of your achievements, straightaway comes to mind your love of God and of His Most Blessed Mother, whose glory you have so often proclaimed, especially in your Cathedral Church, dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and in other Marian shrines…”
This relationship with God and His Mother never remained on the inside but bore the fruit of hospitality and reached out to all of humanity and creation. Archbishop Pantin taking his ministry to heart was able to recognise the dignity of all human persons. He loved all people and embraced everyone as family whether relatives, friends, the homeless, brother bishops and priests, religious sisters.
We thank God today for the example we have in the life of Servant of God Archbishop Anthony Pantin. We can all agree that together we have all seen and experienced how in the domestic Church his motto was realised for he was indeed “All Things to All Men!”.
We invite you at this time in the first phase (Diocesan Phase) to continue to offer the Archdiocesan Prayer for the process and for his beatification. Please contact me if you have any testimonies or would like to report any favours granted at firstname.lastname@example.org.