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Rosemarie Sant

“Dat is Priest!” That’s the description Fr Steve Ransome said perfectly encapsulates Roman Catholic priest Fr Trevor Nathasingh whom he described as a “priest after God’s own heart”.

Delivering the homily at the St Paul’s RC Church in Couva, in celebration of the 35th anniversary of Fr Nathasingh’s ordination, Fr Ransome said he had pondered on a sentiment that would capture Fr Nathasingh, “And you know what I thought of? Dat is priest!”

“Not because he was perfect, not because he came with a blank slate, but despite all of these things he said ‘yes’ I will go into the house of the Lord and proclaim the message of eternal life,” Fr Ransome said.

Fr Ransome had the congregation in peals of laughter as he recalled “I think Father was engaged 3-4 times—I don’t know if in Guyanese, TT, or US! But with the gifts and experiences God bestowed upon him, good, bad, and indifferent, God said, ‘I will make you my priest’.”

Today, Fr Ransome said, “Everything he does is because of the people and the glory of almighty God, that is why he is a priest today. He answered God’s call to lay down his life to follow Him, in humble obedience to His will, plan, and purpose, following the steps of Jesus Christ. Serving the Lord with dedication, commitment, and a persevering spirit.”

He would “bouff” when required and people would just laugh at the bouff, because they recognise that what Fr Nathasingh does “comes from a heart of love” Fr Ransome said.

He recounted one Saturday morning seeing Fr Nathasingh walking with a book and sweating and when he asked what he had been doing he told him “I was visiting the sick. Did you go to visit your sick? I said no Father, and he said ‘you must go and visit the sick’.” The irony, he said, is that the person Fr Nathasingh had visited was in his (Fr Ransome’s) parish at the time, Malick-El Socorro.

Reflecting on Fr Nathasingh’s 35 years of service, Fr Ransome urged the congregation to contemplate his numerous contributions—”how many people he baptised, how many people he married, how many people he buried, how many people he visited who were sick, how many people he served, how many priests and nuns came from his ministry.”

“Again and again, you see this is what God is calling of Fr Nathasingh, I want you to be a priest after my own heart. I want you to serve my people with love and devotion,” Fr Ransome said.

“Brothers and sisters, long before we proclaimed synod, I believe Fr Nathasingh was trying to do it,” Fr Ransome said to loud applause. “For years I could not understand how this gnashy Indian fella, how people of all races, all cultural backgrounds, all religions could be brought to Christ through him. But it is the love of God penetrating his very being, transferring that onto all who come. Dat is priest.”

Fr Nathasingh came from a non-Christian background and recalled hearing a voice at the front of St Charles RC Church saying to him, “You shall be my priest.”

At the time he said he was “a young man running woman. So if God could grab hold of me and turn me around, He could do it with anybody.”

Fr Nathasingh encouraged young men and women “not to let the secular world drown them” but instead to “think about life and service to Jesus Christ and His church.”

“We are made to give praise for the revelation and gift of Jesus Christ who calls us as ordinary men, unworthy men to stand at His altar and offer the eternal sacrifice, and I am one of those unworthy men that God has chosen to call and bless in His goodness and His mercy for these 35 years.”

Fr Nathasingh was ordained to the priesthood on Father’s Day, June 18, 1989, and first served at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in San Fernando.

He has also presided over parishes in Pt Fortin, Morvant/Laventille, Sangre Grande, Mayaro, and is now the parish priest at St Paul’s RC, Couva, with out-stations at Carolina and Orange Valley.

Hundreds from the various parishes he served in as well as a slew of fellow priests attended in what was billed as a total Holy Spirit experience, with the music ministry worship led by Marcellin Peters and the Pt Fortin choir.