by Lara Pickford-Gordon
Bishop-elect Clyde Harvey has learnt a lot from the parishes of Maloney, San Fernando, Rosary and Gonzales with each place “stretching” him to becoming a better priest. The experiences have prepared him to be bishop of St George’s Grenada. “You have taught me a lot and it will stand me in good stead whatever the future holds,” Msgr Harvey told the congregation at Holy Rosary RC, Henry Street last Sunday.
Delivering a few opening remarks, he assured his leaving was not goodbye. “Grenada is too close,” he said with a chuckle. Alluding to the rite of ordination to the priesthood when the bishop lays hands, he said it was the people who helped him become who he is as a priest. He reiterated at the end of Mass, “You will always be part of my life, part of my love, part of who I am”.
His homily focused on the weekend’s Gospel (Mt 13:24–43) and he underscored the need for the positive to thrive. He explained that Jesus’ parable of the wheat and darnel sown together told that good and bad exist in the world and this was part of God’s purpose. Msgr Harvey said people have to be open to the way good and bad affected their lives and have the wisdom and understanding to know how to respond.
Drawing on the often-quoted parable of persons getting to heaven and seeing others they never expected because they were perceived as bad, he told the congregation that seeing the other as evil can test attitudes and they had to ask, “How to live our lives alongside them. That is not easy and we dare to trust if we really walk with God, God will redeem. It is God’s purpose and God’s alone to be able to distinguish between good and evil and in all of that to even use what is evil.”
Directing comments to young people and their parents, he said many young people do not see the weeds in themselves until the teen years when they begin to face challenges. He asked them to try and answer this question and to ask themselves, “Am I allowing the wheat in me to grow taller and stronger than the weeds or am I just falling into the weeds and allowing them to choke me?”
The message coming from the world is that weeds are stronger than wheat but the world needs people who can rise and show wheat is better. He encouraged the youths “not be afraid when you find yourself faced especially in teen and early adult years—with choices; it is never too late to correct your situation.”
Msgr Harvey said some years ago he came to the realisation that the parable was not about God condemning people to hell while others went to heaven. “In each of us there is something fit for heaven and something that’s fit for hell and we have to make sure there is more fit for heaven.”
Parish priest Fr Ronald Mendes CSSp, who proclaimed the Gospel, offered up a prayer for the Bishop-elect that over the course of his tenure he would be like Pope Francis – fearless, filled with humility, love and passion.
Before the final blessing the Bishop-elect was presented with gifts on behalf of Fr Mendes and the parish community of the National Marian Shrine Holy Rosary. Jalon Simmons, eight, who made his First Communion on July 16, and lector Dianne Moore-Corridon presented a canvas painting. Rosary’s retired receptionist Eldica McKell along with Kayla Hypolite and Zakiya Gordon handed over a card signed by parishioners and a book, and parishioner Octavia Trotman gave a token of appreciation. In addition, Msgr Harvey received the gift of a $12,000 cheque for his bishop vestments and accessories.
After Mass, the Bishop-elect was surrounded by young and old parishioners showing their affection and appreciation with hugs and kisses. He gladly obliged the many requests to have photographs taken with him.