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October 5, 2020
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October 6, 2020

Remembering Fr Seignoret at St Mary’s

Fr Herbert Seignoret CSSp, 89, died Saturday, August 29, 2020. He was a former parish priest of St Mary’s RC Church, Mucurapo and St Peter’s RC Church, Pointe-à-Pierre, and a former lecturer in Canon Law at the Seminary of St John Vianney and the Uganda Martyrs, Mt St Benedict. The funeral Mass was September 5. Adelia Alves, a parishioner at St Mary’s, pays tribute.

I was very sad to hear of the passing of Fr Herbert Seignoret. He was our parish priest at St Mary’s RC, St James from January 1979 for approximately 11 years. He was very diligent about his work and there was nothing slipshod about him. It showed very much in his attitude, that he was a teacher before becoming a parish priest.

As a lector, he always made sure we pronounced words properly. He even bought a book and placed it on a stand in the sacristy where lectors would have to check the readings of the day before Mass started. This book had difficult names/words broken up into syllables to ensure that we pronounced them correctly or he would call you after Mass and you didn’t like that.

I remember he had a keen interest in Bible study. He started a Bible study class and every Tuesday we would meet one week in our parish hall and alternate at the Lady Hochoy Home at Roslands the following week. His interesting explanations of the Bible readings always made you want to come.

There were times he related incidents about his life. He said when he was a teenager, he would be dropped off to Mass on Sundays, but he would stay outside the church and paid very little attention.

However, when he started to attend St Mary’s College he learned so much from the Holy Ghost Fathers by whom he was taught that he became a Holy Ghost Father himself.

Another time he told us he was in the United States with a friend, both of them being seminarians on a study course. They stopped at a restaurant to eat but after waiting awhile seeing people come after them and being served, he asked a waiter about this.

He was told that they don’t serve “coloured” people! He answered that they should have put up a sign saying such instead of wasting people’s time.

Imagine being hungry and because of the colour of your skin you could not be served. It seems that racial prejudice has not changed much as evidenced in the world today and many Christians are persecuted for their religious beliefs and cannot serve God as they would like in many parts of the world.

During Fr Seignoret’s time with us, a men’s group was formed. With much discussion it was decided that a new presbytery would be built as the old one was being used for meetings and needed repairs. He was very much involved in making this come to fruition.

He also had a very active involvement in the construction of the Simeanna Home for the aged, which was built on a piece of land that was donated by a parishioner.

We were sad to see him leave but now that his work on earth is finished, may he rest in eternal peace and hear the voice of Jesus say to him, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”