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Five new permanent deacons ordained in Antigua*

By Kaelanne Jordan, kjordan.camsel@rcpos.org

The St John’s–Basseterre diocese boosted its clerical pool with the ordination of five deacons to the permanent diaconate.

Anulfo Rosario Martinez, Joram Albertus ‘Bert’ Brown, Bernard ‘Buntart’ Duplessis, Patrick ‘Paddy’ Benjamin and Pershing Waldron Jr were ordained 6 p.m. on Monday, February 11 at the Holy Family Cathedral, Antigua.

Bishop Robert Llanos of the St John’s–Basseterre was the ordaining prelate. Concelebrants included Archbishop Kenneth Richards and Archbishop Emeritus Donald Reece both of the Kingston (Jamaica) Archdiocese; Vicar General Fr Pierre Tevi-Benissan; Holy Family Cathedral Administrator Fr George Williams; priests and deacons of the St John’s-Basseterre diocese.

Of the five permanent deacons, Waldron Jr—the youngest at 46 years—is also unmarried. During the Rite of Ordination, he made a commitment to celibacy.

A brief biography of the candidates mentioned that Brown, a retired Deputy Accountant General was pastor of three protestant congregations at different times over a seven-year period 1976–1982. He converted to Catholicism in 1991.

Responding to questions via email, Fr Pierre told Catholic News that the permanent diaconate programme started under Archbishop Richards while he was the Ordinary of the diocese. Frs Lawrence Malama and Ed Lawlor were initially tasked with putting the programme together and taught some of the classes. After Fr Lawrence was moved to St Kitts, Fr Frank Power “took over” and also taught some of the classes.

Fr Pierre mentioned that other priests from the diocese as well as Archbishop Emeritus Joseph Harris of Port of Spain and Archbishop Emeritus Reece also contributed to their training. “However, the bulk of their formation was assumed by Deacon Peter Espeut from Jamaica. He will also follow up and do ongoing formation,” he said.

All five ordained deacons will minister in Antigua. Dominica Republic-born Rosario is assigned to Hispanic Ministry and Brown, to the Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Tyrrells community. Duplessis, Benjamin and Waldron Jr are at the Holy Family Cathedral but will be scheduled across the parish and its missions.