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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.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

I am your new Pastor

Fr. Anselm Russell

Saturday evening Mass normally has a good crowd of Parishioners on average with the exception of the summer months where many people are travelling on vacation. This past weekend October 5, 2011 the members of St. Thomas More Parish welcomed our new Priest as he celebrated his very first Mass at the Parish. Prior to Fr. Anselm's appointment he served as assistant rector at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral.

There were many familiar faces of the Catholic community at St. Thomas More last evening who are not members of the Parish, so it left one to wonder if they were their as witnesses to the celebration of Mass with Fr. Anselm or possibly considering St. Thomas More as their new home. Whatever the reason, it was good to have many of our brothers and sisters under one roof as we shared in the Holy Eucharist as a community.

One of the great things about celebrating Mass with a new priest, being it either a temporary one, or one who is filling in for a weekend, the Mass is always the same. There is never any surprises when Mass is held. This is also the case when you visit another Parish, either within your diocese or away while on holiday. The structure of the Mass should never change and the prays and words are always the same. This is what makes the Catholic Church so unique and special.

Mr. Carew receiving communion
from Fr. Anselm
A new priest who has never held Mass at a particular parish should be able to walk right in and conduct Mass (welcomed and invited of course) just as though he was always priest of that parish. From the introduction to the altar servers prior to Mass to the opening and closing prayers there was never an indication that Fr. Anselm was new to the Parish. That's the beauty of the Catholic Church.

Putting everything into perspective, Fr. Anselm waited just before the announcements to introduce himself and expressed his thanks and gratitude to the Archbishop for the appointment as pastor to St. Thomas More Parish. Anyone visiting would have been surprised that this was his first service as everything flowed smoothly from start to finish. Deacon Mackey was instrumental in ensuring that all the T's were crossed and I's dotted.

L to R: Mr. Knowles, Mr. Forsythe,
Fr. Anselm and Deacon Mackey
As this is a new venture for Fr. Anselm, he hopes that the experience will be a learning one for both himself and the parishioners as we grow more and more together in holiness. Expressing similar sentiments as that of Msgr Culmer in respect of change, Fr. Anselm understands that change can be difficult, however it is necessary if we are to live. Through faith and hope the pair will begin this journey together, as Fr. Anselm promises to do his best to serve St. Thomas More.



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