Archbishop-elect Jason Gordon grew up in Fitt Street, Woodbrook, with his parents Stanley and Rose, sister and extended family. His paternal grandmother and an uncle lived with them for “many years”.
“My grandmother was always very religious. We went to Mass every weekend so I grew up in that kind of household; dad was Anglican so he never came to Mass but was spiritual, that was always important to him so that kind of thing shaped my identify as a man of God very early in my teenage life,” he said in an interview with the Catholic News.
He routinely had lunch at the Ana Street, Woodbrook home of his maternal grandmother when he attended primary and secondary school.
After he was ordained to the priesthood in 1991 at 32 years, his maternal grandmother was ill for many years. He vividly recalled being at her bedside one Sunday, “She waited for me to say Mass for her before she took her leave. She died in a state of real peace.”
When he was in Fifth Form at Fatima College his father fell ill because of a heart condition and could not regularly work for about 18 months at the family’s steel-fabricating business. During this time income was not coming in as before and the family “got by, by the providence of God… it was a real experience for our whole family,”Archbishop-elect Gordon said.
When the senior Gordon was well enough he worked half-days. One day he called the family together to inform them he was opening a “God account” and 10 per cent of money coming into the household would go for the poor.
“That is a very vivid memory as a teenager because he would call us every two months and say ‘this is what is in the account and this is the charity we are giving it to’ so it was an active thing in the family that God was providing, in some very interesting ways for us….It was one of those things where faith was being demonstrated by him. We never lacked for anything but we never lived with any excess.”
From young Archbishop-elect Gordon enjoyed participating in outdoor activities. He was Troop Leader of the Fatima Sea Scouts, captain of the regatta team that won the Morrison Trophy for rowing and swimming 1973 and 1974. He earned the Distinction Award from the Royal Life Saving Society, the highest life-saving certificate available. Sailing, rowing, camping are hobbies he still enjoys today.
He is an avid kayaker and every Saturday in Barbados is on the water. “I keep my kayak in the Barbados Cruising club founded by the Right Excellent Errol Barrow. I kayak to Accra (6 km) or St Laurence Gap (8 km) or Maxwell (10 km) and on a good day to Miami Beach (16 km).”
Last year he walked the Camino de Santiago–The Way of St James, “a large network of ancient pilgrim routes stretching across Europe and coming together at the tomb of St James (Santiago in Spanish) in Santiago de Compostela in north-west Spain”.(http://santiago-compostela.net/)
Archbishop-elect Gordon said it is one of the oldest pilgrimage sites and he walked 780 km across Spain. The experience was both a physical and spiritual adventure.
“I was on my own, and every day you walk 25 km or so but it is also about trusting in God and trusting in the providence of God, what you need to do that day. So it was a spiritual odyssey.” Encounters with others also gave him insight into “who I am as a person”.
Archbishop-elect Gordon wrote about his pilgrimage in a book titled Encounters of Grace which is available online. (https://www.amazon.com/Encounters-Grace-Pilgrims-Musing-Santiago-ebook/dp/B01MY1ABBJ/ref=nodl_) He read two books monthly “most months”, audio books or on his kindle and when “absolutely necessary” in print form.