Archbishop-elect Charles Jason Gordon is committed to giving his heart and life to meeting the challenges of being Archbishop of Port of Spain; the metropolitan Archdiocese is responsible for the dioceses of Bridgetown (Barbados), Georgetown (Guyana), Paramaribo (Suriname) and Willemstad (Curacao).
Archbishop-elect Gordon, the former Bishop of Bridgetown succeeds Archbishop Joseph Harris who after six years reached the mandatory retirement age of 75 in March. The appointment was made official noon Vatican City time (6 a.m. local time) Thursday on the Holy See Press Office website. Monsignor Julien Kaboré, Counselor and Deputy Head of Mission of the Apostolic Nunciature, made the announcement locally at a media briefing at the conference room, Archbishop’s House today (Thursday). He also stated that Archbishop-elect Gordon was appointed “Apostolic Administrator of Bridgetown” because of the vacancy in the diocese of Bridgetown.
Archbishop Harris continues as administrator until the Archbishop-elect is installed on or before December 27 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Port of Spain.
Archbishop-elect Gordon said he felt trepidation “because the task of being Archbishop of Port of Spain is a very serious responsibility”. He explained, “To be archbishop of Port of Spain as Archbishop Harris alluded a short while ago, six years can wear down an old man – and six years can wear down a young man. I don’t think that the wearing down is so much of age as the complexity of the archdiocese, the turbulent nature of Trinidad [and Tobago] society.”
Describing T&T as an incredible, dynamic, passionate society, he said “All of these great characteristics of T&T society also leads it to be a society where harnessing, holding unity and creating a movement for positive transformation is also a very difficult and challenging thing.”
There is a joy for life but also the challenge to “really create a movement for good, a movement for change and movement for building a better world, better society, Church.” Responding to a question, he said a “big challenge” facing the Church was helping deepen the faith of people so they are confident to give themselves to God and be missionary disciples as Pope Francis said.
Arcbishop-elect Gordon said he felt “peace” because he knew being Archbishop was what God was asking him to do.
He said however, he would have to “learn this place” and the new realities of the Church and country. He will also “put things in place” to ensure the Barbados Church continues growing as he works with the island while also in his substantive position.
Archbishop Harris said Archbishop-elect Gordon knew the Archdiocese pretty well because before becoming bishop of Bridgetown and Kingstown, he was Episcopal Vicar for Administration in the Archdiocese: “…I ask everybody to continue, or if you haven’t been, to start praying for him so that the Holy Spirit can truly enlighten him as he takes on this task of governing this Archdiocese of Port of Spain”. Commenting on the 16 and a half years of service which lay ahead, he told the Archbishop-elect, “enjoy”.
Catholic Media Services Ltd live-streamed the media briefing on the Archdiocese’s Facebook page and the Archbishop-elect fielded questions from the online audience.
By Lara Pickford-Gordon