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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.

Monday, January 30, 2012

"Year of Favour" book launched

Two major events shared the spotlight on Sunday, the 29th day of January; a book signing event and a political convention. For the last few weeks, the Parishes across the Archdiocese have been reminding its members of the launch of a book entitled "Years of Favour" as part of the celebrations in association with the 50th anniversary as a Diocese. From the small crowd that was present at the Cathedral, my guess is that many opted to go to the Wyndham Nassau resort in support of their political party's launch of candidates who will run in the upcoming general election, while others may have just forgotten all together.

Greetings and introduction of the book came from Archbishop Pinder who reminded us of when the 50th anniversary celebrations began to where they ended. "The events began with the Liturgy in St. Francis Xavier Cathedral and they concluded with the Liturgy in the same Church. Between the two Liturgies we had a series of Pilgrimages that allowed the faithful to travel across this archipelago to all the places where we have Churches and missions," says Archbishop Pinder.

The book took on separate responsibilities of those who organized and managed the Pilgrimages. Archbishop Pinder feels that the book is certainly special and unique in any ecclesial body of The Bahamas. Great time and effort was placed into ensuring completion of the book that was spearheaded by Mr. Neko Meicholas, Mrs. Patricia Meicholas and Ms. Heidi Glinton.

Everyone sat intently as Mrs. Patricia Meicholas was thanked and introduced as being responsible for the production of this historical document. Those of us present were the first to witness a small piece of history, while Mrs. Meicholas expressed the passion and vision for the book. "Now if only I could get my hand on my copy so I can see if my photo is in the book, many may have been thinking." Thankfully, I did not build up my hopes, as I could not even find the sleeve of my shirt in any of the many photos taken, but that's not the point as Mrs. Meicholas so gracefully reminded each of us. The photographer and committee tried to capture the spirit of the Church, while trying to reflect some of the service in the Church.

Holding a copy of the book, during his introduction, Archbishop Pinder explained the reason that the cover, both front and back, were chosen. On the front cover of the book there is an image of the Paraclete, the "Holy Spirit" while the back of the book displays an image of a pelican. The pelican is a very common bird in the Bahamas, found maily in Northwestern islands of Abaco, Grand Bahama and Bimini. So what's the significance of the pelican on the book you may ask? Archbishop Pinder breaks down the reason for the image of the pelican:

In the earliest Christian art you would often find the pelican represented, and represented because of a legend that the pelican takes great care of its young. So much so that it is prepared to wound itself to feed its young with its own blood when there is no more food for it to provide itself. And so the pelican represent the passion of Christ. Those of you old enough to remember would recall that around the altar in the old cathedral were a number of stained glass windows. One of those was the image of a pelican in its nest with its young; that's why that was there. That's why it's so important for us to understand the images of our faith.

Thanking people involved for their assistance in gathering the necessary information for a project of such magnitude can be a bit tricky. What if you forgot to thank someone who may have contributed significantly to the production? Mrs. Meicholas realizing the ramifications of such a task, decided nonetheless to go at it. Many were thanked including the support of the parishioners, priests, deacons, and members of the chancery. The committee received hospitality everywhere they went.

All of the pastors of all of the parishes were thanked, including those priests who have recently left, Fr. Martin Gomes along with Fr. Patrick Fanning. What stood out as significant interest for me was the expression of gratitude Mrs. Meicholas gave to a dear friend priest "Fr. Patrick Fanning." Mrs. Meicholas remembers the time with Fr. Pat while visiting Long Island: "Fr. Fanning, what can I say; was so wonderful to us on Long Island, he drove us up and down, introduced us to people. We received a warm reception in their homes. To end it all, Fr. Fanning cooks all by himself, the most wonderful Bahamian meal for us after Mass. It just was incredible; I know many Bahamian women would be just so jealous."

It's unfortunate that I didn't take the time to open the book and browse through it before I left the event. I must have been over excited by having the Archbishop sign my copy. If I had flipped through the pages I would have come across a beautiful photo of my grandmother (a devout Catholic, who recently passed away in 2011), receiving communion from Fr. Pat at her home in Long Island. I would have loved to get Mrs. Meicholas take on the photo and the approximate time frame when the photo was taken. At the end of her life, my grandmother did not know anyone any longer, but she appeared in the photo to have had some recollection of what she was partaking in.
What an amazing book, "Years of Favour," and everyone including non-Catholics should get a copy for their home. History was made on Sunday, January 29, 2012 and I am so thankful to have been present to witness firsthand, the introduction, and to hear the story told from the author's mouth. The cost of the book is $60.00, and believe you me it's worth every penny and more. The book goes on sale today at the Catholic bookstore, but you should also be able to purchase them from you Parish office.


Ending the evening, the Archbishop expressed his stamp of approval for such a piece of work that is worth taking a look at. "It's a wonderful document, it's a terrific presentation of our catholic community to this point in history, and I thank God for helping me make this happen."

3 comments:

  1. Kevan thanks for sharing the experience of the publishing and presentation of the book. I am kind of stunned at the remembering by Mrs. Meicholas. I do remember cooking up a batch of mac and cheese with goat pepper for that occasion... I'll have to come back to the Bahamas just to get a copy of the book! Wow. My head is swelled. ;) God bless, fr. pat

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  2. There are moments in your life that you will remember forever. One such moment for me was meeting your grandmother. I remeber fondly her words as she came out to greet us "Oh look at my people". What impressed me about her, was her very gentle spirit. Everyone we met spoke so highly of her and, when we did finally get to meet her I knew we were meeting a beautiful christian. Her spirit spoke to mine and when I took the photograph I hoped that I would capture that. I believe I have.

    In working on the "Years of Favour" project, Long Island was the first Family Island trip that we made and it felt as though we had gone home.

    We were treated as if we had come home by everyone we met. Fr Fanning was wonderful -- driving us up and down and all over the place and fixing a wonderful Bahamian meal for us on our last day.

    That trip and the people we met in Long Island are a memory we will always cherish.

    Neko Meicholas

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    Replies
    1. Yes indeed Mr. Meicholas, she was a very good host back in the day. If you were not hungry when you showed up, you would still have to eat something because she would sit you down and put something in front of you. God Bless her soul.

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