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.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary ministry comes to an end in The Bahamas

Members of the Catholic community gathered at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral on Wednesday, October 26, 2011 7:30 p.m. to celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving in honour of the ministry of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts Of Jesus and Mary (SS.CC.) within the Archdiocese of Nassau.

After having been in the Bahamas for 50 years we say goodbye to the last member of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary (SS.CC.), Fr. Martin Gomes, SS.CC.  Fr. Gomes was assigned to St. Joseph Parish having taken over from another member of the congregation, Fr. Patrick Fanning. Fr. Patrick was then transferred to Long Island until earlier this year when he too said farewell to The Bahamas. Fr. Pat is now studying abroad in Rome.

The Sacred Hearts Community has been in the Bahamas longer than any serving Bahamian priest says Archbishop Pinder; "the Sacred Hearts Community has been present and ministering among us since 1961.  From then until now is a span of fifty years.  The reality is, we have no local Bahamian priest who has served us that long.  The one who comes closest is our highly regarded and deeply loved Monsignor Preston Moss, who was ordained in 1965 (46 years ago)."

Fr. Gomes along with the other priests of the congregation have contributed significantly to the development of the Archdiocese of Nassau as indicated by Archbishop Pinder. Fr. Stan Kolasa artistic imagination birthed the beautiful church of St. Francis de Sales in Marsh Harbour, Abaco. Thanks to Fr. Michael Kelly the members of Our Lady's Parish ensure the renovated Parish with an amazing baptismal font and air conditioning. In addition to the said projects at Our Lady's Parish, Fr. Kelly also took on the task of seeing through the new Parish Hall with diligence and precision.

Present at the celebration along with Fr. Martin Gomes, SS.CC. were Fr. William Petrie, SS.CC., the Provincial Superior of the Sacred Hearts Community, along with Fr. Michael Kelly, SS.CC. and Fr. Stan Kolasa, SS.CC.  Absent was Fr. Patrick Fanning who is in Rome on studies.

A monument in honour of the Sacred Hearts Community was presented by His Grace, Archbishop Patrick C Pinder, STD, CMG at a Mass of thanksgiving for Fr. Gomes and the other priests who served in The Bahamas from 1961-2011 on Sunday, October 30, 2011 at St. Joseph Parish. Unveiling of the monument was led by Fr. Bill Petrie, SS.CC, Provincial.

Photos Courtesy of: Mr. Carlton Robinson

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