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Remembering Fr Reginald Hezekiah

“Father Reggie” always urged the congregation of the St Charles Borromeo RC, Tunapuna, to attend Mass regularly because the focus was not on him but God.

“Whoever we have, a priest for Mass or lay minister for service we always must be present for Jesus. He did not make joke with that,” Judith Rondon, parish secretary said in an interview.

“It has been a really beautiful experience to be here working with him. He was very good with the youths in the parish. His healing ministry was very outstanding and successful,” Rondon said.

Under Fr Hezekiah’s leadership twice annually a Week of Grace was held in the parish.

The first was a day time retreat held in the fourth week of Lent which Rondon said attracted people “from all over”; there were those who even took their vacation so they could attend for the entire week. The second retreat took place the week prior the church’s Feast day on November 4. Both events dealt with different areas of healing-emotional, physical, family etc.

Fr Hezekiah was “very good” with the First Communion, Confirmation and the SCY Team, youth group.

Two quotations he often mentioned were, “I can do all things through Christ who gave me strength” Philippians 4:13 and what he called the shortest verse in the Bible John 11:35, “Jesus wept” after hearing of the death of Lazarus. Fr Hezekiah said the latter quote emphasised Jesus’ love and empathy for people.

Terrence Caesar, chairman of the Parish Council at the time said Fr Hezekiah gave 200 per cent to the parish and supported ideas in the same measure. Caesar said Fr Hezekiah would listen to all suggestions and debated them, “not always to disagree but to ensure even if he agreed you knew what you wanted to do and were firm in your mind in doing it.”

Fr Hezekiah had “several weaknesses” and could not say ‘no’ to helping children, the elderly, and anyone being taken advantage of.

Caesar said he gave an example of “what it is to walk in faith and do things in faith.” Caesar related in the 2011 while the State of Emergency was in effect someone was shot outside the church compound. The man lay alone bleeding on Lashley Street, as most persons around had fled.

Fr Hezekiah went out to the man and started praying for him. The injured man was still alive by the time the police and ambulance arrived and went on to have surgery and survive.

“That’s the kind of person he was,” said Caesar.

His love for his family was no secret

Birthday parties, Mother’s day celebrations, concerts, Christmas parties, Fr Hezekiah was there. At the Mother’s day function it became his tradition to sing and send out kisses to the mothers.  He was involved in “everything.”  Caesar said Fr Hezekiah “wore his expressions on his sleeve”; he was open about his feelings and “not false.”

“That is the Father Hezekiah I have interacted with a number of years and I would cherish and miss,” he remarked.

Fr Hezekiah’s passed suddenly on April 21, 2016 while on vacation in Florida. He was as a member of clergy for the Archdiocese of Port of Spain for 55 years. May eternal rest be granted unto him O Lord and may Perpetual Light shine upon Him. May he Rest In Peace.