Many people have stories of praying to God for something they needed and, at the opportune time, Archbishop Anthony Pantin came and helped them. Archbishop Jason Gordon believes this was a characteristic of holiness of the late Archbishop, the first local archbishop to head the Catholic Church. Archbishop Pantin died March 12, 2000.
Archbishop Gordon called Archbishop Pantin an instrument in God’s hands who turned up, “at an opportune moment, in a way of providence to people who have a specific need, who were crying out to God.”
Present at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception when Archbishop Pantin’s body lay in state, Archbishop Gordon said he heard different people tell of moments when “he would call or appear with just what they needed in the nick of time.”
These stories were not just from Catholics. “It seems to be a pattern in his life with many, many people who have had that experience and that story”, Archbishop Gordon said while presiding at a Memorial Mass on the 21st anniversary of Pantin’s death. He added that if this was seen as a pattern of his [Pantin’s] life, then it has to be said he was attuned to God.
“God, whose ears is always close to the needs of the poor very often used Archbishop Pantin to provide what God wants to provide for His lowly people.”
Archbishop Gordon referred to the readings of the day: Hosea 14:2–10 and the Gospel of Mark 12:28–34, which suggested traits exemplified by Archbishop Pantin. The prophet Hosea carried the message of God’s faithfulness.
Archbishop Gordon highlighted the word Hesed saying it described the kind of love God had, a covenantal love. “It is a steadfast love, it is a love that endures all things, but this love is a quality of mercy and so the word Hesed speaks to a particular kind of love that God has for His people.”
In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus said He wanted mercy, not sacrifice. The Greek word for mercy is Hesed. Looking at Archbishop Pantin’s ministry one would see the quality of love which Hosea spoke of, “the singlemindedness …and sense [that] there is no other God; it is only the one God.” This was reflected in his writings and homilies.
Archbishop Pantin was the voice of hope holding the country together during the 1990 coup when he was on the radio with announcer Dennis McComie.
One of the Archbishop’s favourite sayings was “it is all God’s work” (2 Corinthians 5:18). Archbishop Gordon said this was a way of speaking about the universe which recognises God “who created everything and through whose providence everything comes about, and through whose grace we are able to respond to whatever comes our way.”
He told the congregation he had to smile when he saw the day’s gospel because it could not be better for Archbishop Pantin. Jesus says love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your strength and love your neighbour as yourself.
“If you want to know what the love of God looks like, let me see how you are loving your neighbour and Archbishop Pantin made this text his life. One of the things we know about him, he had a heart for the poor,” Archbishop Gordon said.
Archbishop Gordon commented while the archdiocese believed Archbishop Pantin is a saint, there is a process to be followed in which Rome has to make that declaration. Many persons have given testimonies of miracles received after asking for Archbishop Pantin’s intercession. “We who knew him have to start calling on him and putting him to work,” the Archbishop said.