By Lara Pickford-Gordon, firstname.lastname@example.org
The cause for the beatification of Servant of God, Anthony Pantin is “alive and well” said Archbishop Jason Gordon.
“It is a very important thing for us in the Caribbean to have someone who is reaching this far in terms of a cause for canonisation or sanctification,” he said in an interview last Wednesday.
Catholics have been reciting a prayer for the cause of beatification since the announcement was made in 2013. Tomorrow, Monday, will mark the 18th anniversary of Archbishop Pantin’s death.
A Mass will be held next Monday at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Archbishop Pantin’s episcopal ordination, which took place on the feast day of St Joseph, and to announce the strengthening and “invigorating” of the beatification process.
Archbishop Gordon said there are additions to the Diocesan Tribunal and they will take their oaths of secrecy “on or before that date”. New notaries will collect testimonies from the public, facilitating the collection of information “more quickly than before”.
Archbishop Gordon asked the public to share their testimonies and experiences of the late archbishop’s holiness. He advised that letters with testimonials can be sent to Archbishop’s House to his attention, with the cover of the envelope stating ‘Cause of Archbishop Anthony Pantin’. “We really want as many people as possible to send in testimony,” he said.
The archbishop explained many people had encounters with Archbishop Pantin, the first local archbishop, which were significant to them and others who had experiences which point to his holiness. Also of interest are the testimonies from those who asked for the intercession and received favours or consolation. Witnesses to Archbishop Pantin’s life and work will be called in for interview.
The move to beatify a bishop from the region is a “first” for the Antilles Episcopal Conference.
“This is a new process for us in the Caribbean. No other diocese has ever done this before. It has been a very steep learning curve for us, learning as we go along—not that it got stymied,” he responded to a question.
Archbishop Gordon said the process began under Archbishop Joseph Harris who set up a team which started to work and “came across all the normal challenges [in] having a process like this for the first time. We have learned”.
He disclosed that Bishop Wieslaw Spiewak CR (Congregation of the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ) of Hamilton, Bermuda, is an adviser because of his experience from the canonisation causes for members of his congregation. Archbishop Gordon said Bishop Spiewak will help the tribunal get all that is needed to fulfil the requirements of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
In 2013, Archbishop Harris was given approval by the Holy See to begin the first phase of the Inquiry for the Cause. A letter dated November 25, 2013 to clergy, religious communities and faithful announced the official opening of the Diocesan Inquiry into the cause of beatification and to celebrate a Solemn Mass December 9, at Our Lady of Fatima RC, Curepe. It stated, “We are at the stage of the informative process, in order to ascertain this servant of God’s reputation as a man known for his holiness and service to God’s people. The canonical process falls under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Port of Spain since Archbishop Pantin died in Port of Spain”.
Members of the tribunal appointed to conduct the investigation received their mandates at the Mass.