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Update: Beatification and Canonisation of Archbishop Pantin

The Office for the Cause for the Beatification and Canonisation of Archbishop Gordon Anthony Pantin provides an update on the 23rd anniversary of his death.

In 2011 Pope Benedict XVI stated that: “Saints change the world”. If we spend the time to examine the lives of the Saints, we will understand the simple truth of that statement.

In his article ‘An Important Project’, Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation of the Causes of Saints, wrote that, “Reading the lives of the Saints is like digging through a treasure trove of precious stones. The saints are the spiritual gold of the Church, her jewels. They reflect the splendour of goodness, truth, and love of Christ.”

But what is it that we do when we look at the life of a person put forward by the Church for beatification and canonisation? According to Cardinal Amato, “A cause of beatification and canonization presupposes in fact a network of collaboration, which develops first in the diocesan phase and then in the Roman phase, before it arrives at the final decision of the Supreme Pontiff” (‘Importance of Cause of Beatification and Canonization’, 2011).

The Diocesan Phase is about: the Gathering of Proofs; an Inquiry into a miracle; and then the Conclusion, which is the publication of all that has been uncovered, including the Declaration of Non-cult.

All the reports, documents and interviews that are gathered locally through all these steps are prepared and sent to Rome for examination in the Roman Phase. This examination is conducted by the Congregation of the Causes for Saints who prepares a Position which is presented to the Holy Father.

During the Diocesan Phase, the time and energies of the competent Bishop, the Postulator, Juridical Vicar and the Tribunal, the whole team that is assembled when the Process of Beatification and Canonisation is started, can be summed up in three things: they must examine the life, death, and the demonstration of the intercessory power of the Servant of God.

There are two types of Diocesan Inquiries, “martyrdom” and “virtues”, our inquiry is into the virtues of Archbishop Pantin, how did the Servant of God live the virtues heroically within the ordinariness of life, “is there proof of the theological virtues of the faith, hope, and charity toward God and neighbour as well as proof of the cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude together in a heroic degree, as well as a reputation for sanctity?” (Congregation of the Causes of Saints. Regulations).

The Church in Trinidad and Tobago in 2013 began the Diocesan Phase of the Process of Beatification and Canonisation of the Servant of God Archbishop Gordon Anthony Pantin.

He was the eighth Archbishop of Port of Spain, installed on the Feast of St Joseph, March 19, 1968, and he died at age 70 on March 12, 2000. At his funeral, our newspapers observed, “From the soiled and tattered clothing to those in suits, fancy dresses, and casual wear they all express similar mournful sentiments. The Archbishop was described as a Shepherd, a lamb of God, saint and gentle God-like being.”

Currently, the Gathering of Proofs is ongoing. It is the examination of: witnesses; all that he has written, published and unpublished; the response of the people when he died, and if the Servant of God has demonstrated intercessory power.

Several witnesses have already been interviewed, these witnesses were put forward by the Postulator, Fr Christopher Lumsden, and some have come forward on their own accord.

The writings of Archbishop Pantin have already been examined by two theological experts and they have written their opinions. Presently the Historical Commission has been appointed and the members are working on a Report on his life, from his baptism to his death.

An Inquiry into a Miracle must take place before the Diocesan Phase is completed and all the documents in the Closing Session must be processed and collated in a particular order before it is sent to Rome.

As Cardinal Amato indicated, the process of examining the life of a person for beatification and canonisation is a procedural journey, but it is also a faith journey, which allows us to lift up one of our own as an example of a faithful servant worthy of imitation.

As we continue the Cause of the Servant of God Archbishop Gordon Anthony Pantin, much has been accomplished but there is still much to do.

We ask the Church to continue to pray for the Cause, to pray to Archbishop Pantin to intercede for us and our country, a people and country that he loved dearly.

We must also continue to pray for miracles, since we need one for beatification and one for canonisation.

The Archdiocese has set up a Secretariat Office upstairs the St  Theresa’s Parish Office in Woodbrook, and it can be reached via email, beatification@catholictt.org