President of the Antilles Episcopal Conference (AEC) Bishop Gabriel Malzaire of Roseau, Dominica, on behalf of all bishops of the AEC, clergy and religious, has expressed “heartfelt thanks” to Dr Everard Johnston for the “sterling contribution” he made to the formation of the leaders in the region.
Words are insufficient, Bishop Malzaire said, to express gratitude to Dr Everard Johnston for the 48 years of service to the Caribbean Church as professor at the Seminary of St John Vianney and the Uganda Martyrs, Mt St Benedict.
Dr Johnston brought to the seminary a wealth of expertise and experience. On the academic level, he served as philosopher, theologian, scripture scholar and librarian, he wrote.
“I have no doubt that Everard knows every book found in [the] Seminary library at Mount St Benedict, which happens to be the largest theological library in the Antilles region,” Bishop Malzaire said, according to a Catholic Standard article.
On the interpersonal level, Everard was a confidant, counsellor and formatter to many students who are now bishops, priests, deacons, consecrated religious and lay men and women, Bishop Malzaire said.
In fact, seven leaders presently serving the Antilles, namely, Bishop Francis Alleyne of Georgetown, Bishop Karel Choennie of Paramaribo, Archbishop Jason Gordon of Port of Spain, Bishop Robert Llanos of St John’s-Basseterre, Bishop Gerard County CSSp of Kingstown, Bishop-Elect John Persaud of Mandeville, and Bishop Malzaire were trained by Johnston. The late Bishop Vincent Darius OP of St Georges-in-Grenada was also one of his students.
Bishop Malzaire mentioned that a significant number of priests serving the Antilles region and dioceses around the globe have had the privilege of learning from Johnston’s knowledge and wisdom.
“Hundreds of lay men and women have also benefitted from his tutelage,” he said.
“The other attributes that Everard brought to the seminary which remain sources of inspiration to those who encountered him are his great humility and dedication to service.”
Bishop Malzaire commented that Johnston was present in good times and in bad; he was there when the seminary was flourishing with large enrolments and when it was at its lowest ebb.
“He was always available to students in their needs. As a family man his spouse, June, was always close to the seminary.”
He recalled with fondness the Christmas limes they had as students at their home in Port of Spain.
“We pray God’s special blessings to him and his family in his retirement,” Bishop Malzaire ended.