The Roman Catholic Church in The Bahamas is part of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope. The diocese was elevated to a full diocese, as the diocese of Nassau in June 1960. On June 22nd, 1999, the diocese was again elevated as the new Archdiocese of Nassau.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pastoral changes are necessary!

Deacon Dennis Mackey
There was a deafening silence in Church Saturday evening when Deacon Mackey got up at the end of the announcements to read a letter from the Archbishop. It almost seemed as though everyone stopped breathing. It wasn't normal to see Deacon Mackey go back to the podium to read a letter from the Archbishop, so what could he possibly have to disclose? This question ran through the minds of many I'm sure. Mouths were opened and whimpers could be heard after the announcement that no one likes to hear was made.

It's a known fact that Catholic Priests are relocated to other parishes every few years. They are not known to be permanent fixtures at any particular parish. The Archdiocese relocates them as the need arises. As a member St. Thomas More Parish from birth to now I have memory of having known four priests thus far as the Pastor of our parish; Msgr. Ambrose McKinnon, Msgr. Simeon Roberts, Fr. Glen Nixon and currently Msgr. Alfred Culmer. A fifth priest to be added to my list shortly.

Msgr Alfred Culmer
Fr. Anselm Russell
As of October 30, 2011 the members of St. Thomas More will be celebrating our last Mass with Msgr. Culmer as he will be relocating to St. Joseph's Parish, Boyd Rd, replacing Fr. Martin Gomes, SS.CC. Fr. Gomes will be relocating to the U.S. Taking over from Msgr. Culmer at St. Thomas More Parish will be Fr. Anselm Russell OSB, a Benedictine monk who currently serves as Assistant Pastor at the Cathedral. Fr. Russell is also assigned to Aquinas College Catholic High School, where he teaches Grades seven and twelve. His first Mass at St. Thomas More will be on November 6, 2011.

It's not easy saying goodbye to a priest that you have formed a good relationship with, but change is necessary for both the parishioners as well as the priest. Some people follow their priest everywhere he is transferred. I personally have never thought to go behind a priest, as I consider the place that I was baptized, confirmed and married, home. Relocating to another parish should only happen if you're moving or if your Parish closes its doors, then you would have a need to find a new Church family. You must get involved within your Parish in order to feel like a part of it.

No two Priests are alike, just like no two children are the same. They both have strengths and weaknesses. We are members of the Catholic Church because of our faith and not because of any particular priest, "no pun intended." It is necessary that priests move around in order that they do not get too attached to a parish and its members as well as preventing the members from attaching themselves to a particular priest. It would become that more difficult to pull away a priest from a Parish where they have spent a great number of years, thus making it a challenge for the new priest to feel welcomed. We have all come across a priest who we can say is or was the best priest for your Parish, but we should find the strengths of the priest you currently have or will be getting and work with them.

There is only one of him (the Priest) and many of us (the members), so we should extend a warm welcome to the new priests at our parishes so that they can feel the love of the members thus making their desire to shepherd that more exhilarating. So before you decide to run behind your current priest consider the family you will be leaving behind and the memories that you've gained. I'm sure your priest would not want you to run behind him, but would rather you continue to build the Church that you have contributed to for many years. Change is good!

Priests assigned
to Freeport
Further pastoral appointments are as follows:

Fr. Reginald Demeritte of St. Vincent de Paul will be reassigned to Exuma.

Two Indian priests will be assigned to Freeport, Grand Bahama as follows: one to St. Vincent de Paul and the other to St. Agnes Parish.

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