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National awardees also serve the Church

Dr Maria Bartholomew with brother Brandon (extreme left) and his children. Photo: Elmo Griffith

Dr Courtenay Bartholomew, known for his dedicated service in restoration works in the Catholic Church, was awarded the Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, the nation’s highest honour, for his decades of pioneer scientific and medical work in the country and throughout the world.

Dr Bartholomew has worked on restoring the St Francis of Assisi Church in Belmont and the San Raphael RC Church , apart from being Chairman of the Renovation Committee for the Restoration of the Cathedral and designer of stained-glass windows.

He was unavoidably absent at last Sunday’s award ceremony but was represented by his daughter Dr Maria Bartholomew. She shared with Catholic News the honour of receiving the award on her father’s behalf. The award, she said, “captured his joy of service” and the “vision” with which he worked throughout the years, being the first person to diagnose the first person with AIDS in Trinidad and Tobago.

Apart from his numerous achievements, publications and awards for his research and innovative work in Science and Medicine, Dr Bartholomew is known for decades of selfless service to the Church and has also written extensively on the Holy Mother.

From starting off his education at Nelson Street Boys’ RC and St Mary’s College before attaining his degrees, he continues his service to the Church decades later, today. Dr Maria Bartholomew was accompanied at the awards by her brother Brandon Bartholomew and his children Luke, Adam and Taylor Bartholomew.

Long serving Catholic educator Thora Best was awarded the Humming Bird Gold Award. Speaking to Catholic News, Best said she was very honoured to receive the award and that she will continue working in Catholic Education.

Service exemplar Steve Williams, yet another awardee, who attended the awards with his son and daughter, believes in the legacy of family. He shared similar sentiments and while he said he was happy to receive the award, he also fondly remembered the example that his parents set for him to emulate. “My parents were both involved in education and they both served the community.” He said they set that standard for him to follow. – EH