In an effort to fulfil the watchwords ‘Look, Listen, Learn, Love, and Laugh’, Bishop Clyde Harvey of St George’s-in-Grenada has been involved in an ongoing process of diocesan reviews and Saturday meetings to engage the faithful in sharing their experiences of Church, their concerns for the future, as well as making commitments to work on various aspects of Church life.
Aptly referred to as ‘Conversations with Bishop Harvey’, participants—among them recently-appointed Vicar General Fr Carl Haynes, and Frs John George, Emmanuel Offiong, Dan Duru, and Michael Opoku —identified eight areas of diocesan life for more in-depth review and action.
The first was spiritual revitalisation of the clergy and religious. The Catholic Focus’ January-February issue reported that while the diocese has known some holy and deeply committed priests in the past, the perceived behaviour of some priests had led to gossip and waning respect for the priest as the presence of Christ in the midst of the Christian community.
Participants pointed out the need for the reawakening of the diocesan processes and structures so as to ensure the efficient running of the diocese. This involved proper functioning of parishes, deaneries, the College of Consultors, the Finance Council as well as the Catholic Education Board of Management, Liturgical Commission, Family Life and Youth Ministries.
The discussion highlighted that the Youth Ministry has “fallen down” in recent years. Bishop Harvey urged participants not to be afraid to launch into the deep as they seek ways to give their young people a sense of belonging to the Church as well as a deeper knowledge of the Church’s rich heritage. Sacramental preparation, the bishop believed, is just one part of the wider faith development which the youth need.
Improving Catholic communications with the wider Church and being more present in the secular media was another area of priority. Bishop Harvey revealed that decisions have already been taken to develop fully Radio Good News, Catholic Focus, Signis Grenada, as well as the diocese’s printing enterprise.
“Communication is about people and message. We have to get both things right,” the bishop said.
The Catholic Focus report mentioned the need to develop a Catholic Education Review Committee to be appointed immediately in an effort to make the diocese’s Catholic schools the best in the nation for the formation of persons “who are deeply human, committed Christians and citizens”.
‘Conversations with Bishop Harvey’ also addressed the ongoing spiritual and human development of the laity within the parish community. The bishop noted that Grenada’s parishes must come alive as centres of worship and human community and that priests and lay ministers must be primary agents of communion and sharing.
Commenting on Church and Grenadian society, Bishop Harvey believed that the diocese has to find its specific voice and perform transformative deeds on the various issues which challenge the quality of national life.
He explained, “We have to form persons, especially in the social teachings of the Church, so that they can take their place as committed Catholics in the professional, social, economic and political life of the country.”
Bishop Harvey also acknowledged that the diocese has been facing serious financial problems, living a life of dependency on foreign donors for development and even survival. He recommended that citizens must work towards its financial sustainability, which calls for a radical change in consciousness among the Catholic population.