Archbishop Jason Gordon

Archbishop

Message From Most Rev. Dr. Charles Jason Gordon

Message From Most Rev. Dr. Charles Jason Gordon
Archbishop-elect of Port-of-Spain

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We have had six years together building the Church in Bridgetown. This has been an amazing learning experience for me, one that I will always treasure, for you taught me how to be a bishop. There is much to celebrate about our time together. A lot has been achieved and learnt, but we will have time to reflect on this together over the next months.

If you are like me, there is a bitter sweet feeling. We have only just begun to lay the foundation of "this building not made by human hands where the most high dwells" (Acts 7:48). We have only just begun to understand together the elements of discipleship in the 21st century; we have only just begun to grasp and glimpse the vision of what we can be as Church in Barbados; we have only just begun to lay the foundations of Catholicism for a stronger church in the 21st century in Barbados.

I am sad that I need to leave you at this stage of our journey when we are now working together, collaborating, and have crossed most of the major hurdles experienced in new relationships,where we now act with unity and trust and are working in harmony. I take consolation however that you are not being abandoned - provision has been made for the continued growth of the Church in Bridgetown.

First and foremost, although I will take up my appointment in Port of Spain in December, the Holy Father has asked me to continue to serve in Bridgetown as administrator of this diocese. This will ensure that the work we have started together can continue.Secondly, I have already communicated clearly, the urgent need for a bishop for Bridgetown in the immediate future. I ask you to join me in praying that God may give Bridgetown a shepherd who is ready and able to lead the Church in this new stage of growth and development.

We have a few more changes that take effect from December. Fr. Charles has been reassigned by his order, the Dominicans, to Grenada, and will therefore be leaving the Diocese. In addition, two priests have been assigned to serve in Barbados – Fr. Peter Mc. Isaac SJ, a Jesuit, who will join the Diocese in Barbados from January 2018, and Fr. Andrew Rosiak, of the Pallotine Order who will be returning to our Diocese from 1st February 2018, Ash Wednesday. They will both bring gifts and energy to the Diocese.

As you already know, our priest complement is being strengthened with our three seminarians in training – Kirt Prospere, Omar Valmond and Kabuga Gikandi. Along with deacons Rev. George Waithe and Rev. Stephen Foster, and the other deacons in training, the renewal of our church is assured. I ask that you pray for all of these men who have committed themselves to this vocation.

For the last eight months, your Priests and I have had a very intense discussion on how to move the Church in Bridgetown to a missionary key. As you know, we established a new community, Corpus Christi, to grow the church in St George, and it is still at an infant stage. We have also met and invited a community of the Neocatechumenal Way to take residence in St. Thomas and work within that community. Their Charism is to form missionary disciples and help them to evangelise those who are not going to church. They will bring four families, a Priest and a layman to this Mission. It is a very bold move considering our size but they will assist us with evangelising the family, reaching out to those who are not going to church and forming missionary disciples. It is important that this Diocese continues the important mission of spreading the Good News and growing the church in Barbados.

You may have realised that we have been conducting many Formation courses and spiritual retreats in the diocese through our Catholic Formation Institute ("the Institute") and in the parishes. Fr. Peter Mc. Isaac SJ will take responsibility for this aspect of our Diocesan ministry in January 2018 as administrator of the Institute. He is a theologian, has been a lecturer in theology at UWI for many years and leads retreats all over the world. Formation and retreats will continue, offering you many more opportunities for learning and experiencing the depth of our rich tradition and our faith.

I feel like David who was not allowed to build the temple. He, however, made every provision for his successor to have all that was needed to construct a magnificent edifice. Or, as Jesus says, one man plants, another harvests. This is a true saying (Jn 4:37). Those who have gone before me had laid foundations that I built upon. Together, your clergy, lay leaders and myself have planted new seed. I am assured it is good seed and it will bring in a rich harvest.

While I am sad that our formal time together is coming to an end, as Archbishop, I will be in the metropolitan of Bridgetown, having responsibility for this Diocese, along with the other Dioceses in the Province of Port of Spain. We will, therefore, still be connected and in contact. More than this, you will always be in my heart.

Brothers and Sisters, we still have time before the transition in December. We still have time together until a new bishop is appointed. So, let us rejoice in all that God has done for us during the time that we shared together and this further time that we have been given.

I ask you for one gift. It is a simple one. Please reconsider your commitment to Christ and deepen it significantly over the next years with your bible reading and daily prayer habits. There is nothing that would be more precious to me and nothing that will give me more joy than to see each of you flourish and become stronger in faith, witness and love.

With Gratitude that I could serve as your third bishop.

Most Rev. Dr. Charles Jason Gordon

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