On December 18, 2010 Fr Alan Hall made final vows and entered the priesthood. A decade has passed but he does not know “how ten years have gone by so quickly”. It has been an enriching journey and Fr Hall gives thanks to God and the Blessed Mother Mary who are always with him.
He began in his home parish of St Mary’s RC Church, St James then to the pre-seminary Our Lady of Mt Carmel, Carapichaima, to Our Lady of Perpetual Help, San Fernando (assistant parish priest); parish priest of Our Lady of Montserrat, Tortuga after and currently at La Divina Pastora, Siparia.
Fr Hall said the priestly journey is continuously expanding. He alluded to some of the initiatives which were introduced to respond to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic: food drive, book drive and virtual liturgies with which he disclosed he was still struggling. In addition, there is also the migrant ministry: “The list goes on and on”. He added, “One can never settle and the potential to learn more and do more is always there. I never thought that I would have embraced the ‘healing of families ministry’, but
God humbled me and showed me otherwise.” This ministry continues to have a tremendous impact and transformations in families. “I will always continue to highlight its necessity in every family,” Fr Hall said.
He has observed that living through the COVID-19 pandemic through restrictive and stifling at times, has also exposed many to their “spiritual deserts”, himself included. “On a positive side,” he continued, many people have expressed their desire to enter the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) programme. “I continue to wait on God to direct my priestly path,” Fr Hall said.
At his ordination, then Archbishop Edward Gilbert advised him to remain committed, sustain himself through prayer and develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The Archbishop encouraged the development of attributes especially humility.
Questioned how this advice served him and what attributes he developed over the years
he replied, “It is always said that a priest is ordained twice, once at his ordination and
then by the faithful.”
On his main learnings and challenges he stated, “every parish brings with it challenges and blessings, there is no particular order, there may also be more of one than the other.”
A “fundamental lesson” throughout his priesthood is: “To marry the private self with the public self is really to combine humility with witness which in turn gives birth to service”. He referred to the scripture Matthew 11:25, Luke 10:21, in which Jesus thanks the Father for “hiding these things” from the learned and clever and revealing them to the little ones.
Fr Hall said “arrogance drives the learned and the clever, while humility steers the little ones.” He added, “Every day of my priesthood is a learning experience. I prefer to be receptive, open and teachable, in this way I would strive to work with God and not against God. I try to be on the side of the little one.”
His tenth anniversary celebration is bittersweet. It has been a year to say farewell to loved ones who will not share this milestone. Hall lost two cousins and his hero and mentor, his father Ralph Hall, who died in July after a short illness.
“He, together with my mom [Yvonne] vested me ten years ago. I believe he will always be watching over me,” he said. Fr Hall had “a zillion thanks” to all who continue to guide, support, instruct, advise and most importantly, pray for him. He sees himself as forever on the journey to be ordained continuously by God’s people.
Fr Alan Hall celebrated Mass today on his anniversary 6 a.m. at St Mary’s St James at their novena.