The number of priests in Guyana increased by one when India-born Deacon Francis Savarimuthu was ordained for a lifetime of service as a Diocesan priest. The two-hour ceremony took place November 21 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Brickdam, which was almost as full as COVID-19 regulations would allow with friends and well-wishers from Georgetown and further afield—as far as the North West and Berbice.
Bishop Francis Alleyne OSB of Georgetown was the main celebrant and ordaining prelate. Among the concelebrants was Bishop John Persaud of Mandeville, Jamaica, who was on a short visit to Guyana.
Bishop Alleyne enquired about the candidate’s worthiness to be ordained. Vicar General Fr Ronnie Fernandes SJ testified, “After inquiry among the Christian people and upon recommendation of those responsible, I testify that he has been found worthy.”
In his homily the Bishop said that it was very fitting that the ordination was being held on the Feast of Christ the King. He expressed the hope that the future priest would be that worthy subject and servant who would bring the message of Christ and the message of life in God’s Kingdom to the hearts of his brothers and sisters.
Bishop Alleyne said that the whole nation was perturbed by the recent murders in West Berbice. Many in all sections of society called for steps to be taken to address this relatively new experience.
He also mentioned the harmful degrading way that people speak to each other in the media and social platforms. “Let your ministry always have the mark of conciliatory and healing action and language,” he told the deacon. He added that he should build up an attitude of hope and caring and take responsibility to be upright, to be trustworthy, noting the need to give special attention to the vulnerable in the flock.
At the end of the Mass, Fr Savarimuthu expressed his sincere thanks to those who supported him on his journey, and on his ordination day which was also his birthday.
Francis Savarimuthu came to Guyana in 2014 from India, the country of his birth. In 2015, he applied to join the Diocese of Georgetown, Guyana and was sent later that year to Linden for a year-long pastoral experience.
As is required in pursuit of a vocation to the priesthood, in 2016 he was sent to study theology at the Seminary of St John Vianney and the Ugandan Martyrs at Mt St Benedict in Trinidad.
After completing theological studies in 2019, he continued his pastoral work in the parishes of the West Coast and for a short while in the parish of Our Lady of Lourdes, Hosororo in the North West.
Fr Savarimuthu celebrated his first Mass November 22 at the Cathedral.
(Adapted from Catholic Standard)