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New Cayenne bishop’s motto: ‘Fear not, but believe’

The solemn celebration of the episcopal ordination of Fr Alain Ransay as Bishop of Cayenne was well attended with just over 1000 participants gathered at the Palais Régional Omnisports Georges Théolade, February 6.

A report by Melvin Mackintosh in OMHOOG, the weekly publication of the Diocese of Paramaribo (Suriname) said that “With 1000 participants, it became clear that the Covid-19 pandemic had been forgotten for a while. The celebration lasted a little over three hours, but it was a well-deserved celebration and God’s grace was palpable.”

His Excellency Archbishop Fortunatus Nwachukwu, Apostolic Delegate for French Guiana and the French Antilles and Apostolic Nuncio to the Caribbean was the chief celebrant, assisted by Archbishop David Macaire of Saint-Pierre and Fort-de-France (Martinique) and Bishop Michel Dubost, Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Cayenne.

Four other bishops were also present: Archbishop Eric de Moulins-Beaufort of Riems, who is also President of the French Episcopal Conference; Archbishop Kenneth Richards of Kingston, Bishop Clyde Harvey of St George’s in Grenada, and Bishop Karel Choennie of Paramaribo.


About the diocese

Cayenne is a department of France with 260,000 inhabitants. Eighty per cent of the population is Catholic. The diocese has 26 parishes (structured by five deans) with 45 priests and 20 deacons. Among the priests, there were two from Brazil and two from the Côte d’Ivoire because the new bishop had once preached a retreat there.

There are six sister communities and 14 Catholic school complexes in French Guiana. The majority of the priests are religious (mainly Spiritans and Oblates), most of whom come from Africa.

“There are few local vocations while the Bishop of Martinique told me that they currently have ten seminarians in training. He also said that after the celebration, a 26-year-old boy came to him and asked if it was still possible at his age to begin seminary training. The bishop gave him the number of the priest who deals with candidates for the priesthood and concrete agreements have already been made.”

Bishop Ransay’s episcopal motto is: ‘Fear not, but believe!’. The readings of the Eucharistic celebration were of the Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time where in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus tells Peter – after a barren catch of fish – to sail into the deep and throw out the nets.

In his acceptance speech at the end of the service, the new bishop called on Christians not to fear or doubt, but to believe because Jesus Himself asks all of us.