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Bishop wants Catholics in Grenadines to get involved in church’s activities

Bishop wants Catholics in Grenadines to get involved in church’s activities

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Newly ordained Bishop of the Diocese of Kingstown Bishop Gerard County will be seeking to make members of the Catholic faith in the Grenadines feel more involved in the church’s activities.

“I would tell you, pastorally very soon, on the 4th March, I am going down for a week to the southern Grenadines to do the Lenten retreat, to meet and to share with them. Then, on my way up, I am stopping off in Bequia.{{more}} I am making that move to make sure that they feel included and participating in the church,” County stated.

Bishop County spoke to SEARCHLIGHT after being ordained the third Bishop of the Diocese of Kingstown last Saturday at the Villa campus of the SVG Community College, located in the Corpus Christi parish. He noted that while he is still learning, having involvement from the Grenadine Islands is of importance to him.

He also disclosed that he was very excited with the youth participation he sees in the church and will be looking to talk to the youth and have them more involved in parish duties.

“The first step of involving the youth is dialogue, respect, listening to hear what you all want and we move from there.”

The obviously elated Bishop said that the ordination had been a prayerful one and also a celebration for the church in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

“We continue the journey with that enthusiasm. I assume the full responsibility and we will see how things go. I am very pleased with the church I am seeing, even the whole organization … I am seeing a youthful side of the church with which I am very pleased. But church to me is family; all are welcomed on board,” Bishop County told SEARCHLIGHT.

During his address at his ordination, Bishop County thanked his family, his former colleagues of the Royal Bank in Trinidad, his parishioners from Mexico, members of his home town of San Juan and members of the parish of Holy Trinity of Arouca.

“St Vincent and the Grenadines is very important to me; I am taking my first steps as bishop. Since I arrived here for my first visit on the second, you have opened your hearts to me,” he stated.

“I am very pleased to be here with you, it is God’s work; I accept it.”

The bishop also said that he is ready to work and is looking forward to being here for the rest of his life.

Speaking at the ordination ceremony, Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Nicholas Girasoli said it was time that, as Catholics, they realize that they are not in competition, but rather in communion with everyone, especially those who have different religious beliefs.

He told the new bishop that this is the time to listen and specifically to listen to everyone.

“When we become Bishop, we start to become deaf; so you will not become deaf. Listen to everyone; listen to everyone. Everyone needs to be listened to. Don’t make preference of a group of people…they need to be listened to and to be loved and to be served.”

Archbishop Girasoli encouraged bishop County to love and take care of the poor and the minority.

“Bishop Gerry: love the poor, love always the poorest the minority in your episcopal ministry. The poor needs to be the priority for our church…,” he stated passionately.

Monsignor Michael Stewart was again named Vicar General, whose role is the principal deputy of the bishop of the diocese for the exercise of administrative authority and possesses the title of local ordinary.

While delivering the homily, County’s predecessor Bishop Jason Gordon told County that he is now held for high service, like the apostles who were sent out by Jesus to spread the good word.

“And you my brother are called to be a bishop, in the special jubilee…what a privilege, what an honour, what a challenge and what a task laid before you.”

He also stated that as a part of becoming the bishop, he will receive a mitre, a ring and a cloak; however,­­ he will also receive a cross, a cross to bear just like Jesus.

“The thought with responsibility of the cross, the cross that you are carrying, just a symbol of the cross that you will carry, the cross of opening yourself to your people and being vulnerable, being wrong and loving and forgiving.”

He, like the Nuncio, encouraged Bishop County to be one with all the people and walk among the people.

“To be a shepherd is to be there with your sheep.”

As a part of the ordination ritual, the bishop’s head was anointed with oil and he was presented with the ring as a seal of his fidelity to love and protect the bride of God and his church.

He was also presented with the mitre and pastoral staff; he was then escorted to his throne, where he received the kiss of peace from the principal consecrator and all the other bishops.

Bishop County held his first mass at the Cathedral of the Assumption as bishop last Sunday.(CM)

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