A message to our men
December 15, 2020
Advent pivotal in setting tone to follow Christ
December 15, 2020

Future permanent deacons complete first leg of journey towards Diaconate

The journey to the Permanent Diaconate started in 2015 with the initial application of over 40 men desiring to enter formation for the permanent diaconate.

Fr Jason Boatswain succeeded then Fr Clyde Harvey as the Director of Formation for the Permanent Diaconate.

He initiated the programme on March 25, 2017, with a year of discernment which included monthly meetings at the Seminary of St John Vianney and the Uganda Martyrs. A retreat conducted by permanent deacon Rev Peter Espeut of Jamaica was part of this process of discernment.

After a series of interviews conducted by the admissions board 16 men were chosen for a three-year programme of formation. These men are:

Hilary Bengochea – St Joseph, St Joseph

Ian Bourne – Our Lady of Montserrat, Tortuga

Terrence Caesar – St Charles Borromeo, Tunapuna

Curtis Cazeau – Church of the Assumption, South Oropouche

Keith Dass – Our Lady of Montserrat, Tortuga

Jose Gomes – St Peter’s, Carenage

Dennis Hamid – St Philip and St James, Chaguanas

Joachim Hernandez – Church of the Holy Spirit, Malabar

Malcolm Holdip – Church of the Holy Family, Mt Lambert

Roland Joseph – St Francis, Belmont

Kelvin Noel – St Anthony’s, Pt Fortin

Charles Oliveire – St John the Baptist, San Juan

Donald Parris – St Joseph the Worker, Erin

Andy Singh – St Paul’s, Couva

Nigel Thomas – St John the Baptist, San Juan

Peter Timothy – St John the Evangelist, Diego Martin

Doctrinal formation began in earnest in January 2019 with classes held at Catholic Religious Education Development Institute’s (CREDI) centre at Mt St Benedict, as well as an online course through the University of Dayton, Ohio in collaboration with CREDI.

Despite the emerging threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, the aspirants’ studies were not impacted, as local classes quickly switched from a face-to-face setting to online sessions using the Zoom platform. Classes at Dayton University continued online.

On Sunday, December 6, the aspirants took their first step towards their ordination at a special Mass at St Theresa’s RC Church, Malick, Barataria. They were conferred the Ministry of Reader (Lector) by Archbishop Jason Gordon. This relates to the Diaconia of the Word as the Permanent Deacon in his Ministry (which is a Ministry of Service – ‘Diakonia’, from Greek, meaning service) is called to proclaim the Word.

Archbishop Gordon, reflecting on the gospel reading for the second Sunday of Advent (Mk 1: 1–8), said that “as future Deacons, the aspirants must be the voice of the gospel in the world, and they must remain faithful to the gospel in bringing this to others”.

As part of the ceremony, the aspirants were given a Bible by the Archbishop as proclaimers of the Word.

The Mass was attended by family members of the aspirants, as well as Fr Boatswain, priests and others who lectured during the local courses. The Vote of Thanks was given by aspirant Charles Oliveire. —Aspirants