Fr Clyde Martin Harvey, 68 years, is the Bishop-elect of the Diocese of St. George’s, Grenada

Fr Clyde Martin Harvey, 68 years, is the Bishop-elect of the Diocese of St. George’s, Grenada.

The appointment was announced at the Vatican noon today, 6 a.m. local time.

“It is a moment to trust God, trust that somehow your talents meet the job,” Bishop-elect Monsignor (Msgr) Harvey said in his first interview since being notified by Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Nicola Giralsoli on June 19. He wonders if he is “too old for the job”.

Msgr Harvey was aware that he was among the persons being considered to be the next Bishop but it was not until August 2016 he realised “it was a serious consideration”.  His response was to “smile and laugh” but he got on with his life not allowing it to be overshadowed “waiting for this to happen”.  When the news came, he said, “I had to say ‘yes’.”

It is an interesting turn of events for Msgr Harvey who said as a priest the one truth that he could identify with was the power of the expression recited at Mass ‘Lord, I am not worthy’.

His prayers and reflections in taking over the Diocese left vacant after the April 26, 2016 death of Bishop Vincent Darius, have led him to the conclusion that he wants to be guided by four words: look, listen, learn and love.

“I want to go to Grenada with as few prejudices as possible; I want to see what’s there and by that I don’t mean looking for problems. I want to allow Grenada to impress me with its beauty —it has already done that but to be moved by this land of nutmeg and everything, to really allow the whole place, Gran Etang [lake] and all that, to become a part of my inner consciousness.”

In looking at people, he says he wants to do as Jesus says in scripture, “gaze fondly”.  He comments, “We don’t look at people enough; we see what we want to see superficially and step back.”

Msgr Harvey says he has come to understand how difficult it is to really listen, and chuckles at himself knowing, “I probably have to learn more and more how much I don’t listen.”

He went on, “One of the things that I hope will happen in Grenada is for people to tell me when I am not listening to them. I’ve had some wonderful people in recent months look me in my face and tell me ‘you’re not listening’ and that’s great spiritually; that is one of the best things you can tell somebody – challenge them to listen – to really learn.” He looks forward to what the office of Bishop will teach him and others. “The way of salvation is a way of learning,” he adds.

He is no stranger to Grenada. He visited as a seminarian and had “lots of fun”. His 1976 diaconate ordination by Bishop Justin Field took place in Grenada.  Bishop Sydney Charles asked him to have it in there and he agreed “for the sake of the young people, for the sake of vocations and what was then serious societal problem with Eric Gairy and the church and so on”. He subsequently visited a number of times and says unequivocally “I love Grenada”.

Prior to being ordained, Msgr Harvey hopes to visit Grenada to introduce himself to the Governor General and Prime Minister and find time to “walk the streets” of St George’s and other towns to meet people.

“I think it’s important for me to get a feel as the Pope would say ‘get the smell of the sheep’ …to be a presence because a major thing, I have been told by the Nuncio, I have to do is to be a pastor where there has been no pastor for a while,” he says.

Msgr Harvey will have discussion with the Diocesan Administrator on the planning of his ordination ceremony. A personal retreat is also part of the preparation for office.

“Those who know me liturgically know that I would want a lot of work to go out but that would be curtailed by the real possibilities,” he says.

He acknowledges that important decisions impacting the diocese are not his alone to make.

“I can formalise a decision because of the office but the decisions have to be made by those whom it affects,” Msgr Harvey says of the leadership style he hopes to cultivate.

Having known other bishops over the years, Msgr Harvey said Pope Francis has given a different “ideal” and Holy Father’s impact has “flown down through bishops”. His ideal Caribbean bishops were the late Archbishop Anthony Pantin and Bishop Anthony Dickson.

Archbishop Pantin was a “father figure” to him and other young priests, “great to be with, always affirming”. Msgr Harvey said his first sermon in Laventille generated a lot of criticism but Archbishop Pantin assured that he supported him. He describes Bishop Dickson as a “bright mind”, “wonderful human being” who was humble but could be strong.

Msgr Harvey said, “Both of them were men of prayer, not meaning saying a lot of prayers but you knew their prayer came out of their life experiences and both of them suffered a lot.”

One of the memories of Archbishop Pantin which has remained with was days before his death.

He visited Archbishop’s House and found the Archbishop strolling in the garden looking agitated. He said to Harvey, “What more do they expect of me?” Msgr Harvey said the lesson he learnt from this was, “no matter how much you say you love, you still have inner struggles with real love, and I think that applies to all love…nobody but you knows the struggles you go through in trying to love.”

Msgr Harvey still has to devise a design for his coat of arms, a symbol of the office of bishop. However, he has chosen his motto.   It will come from the motto chosen when he along with Vicar General Msgr Christian Pereira and Fr Carlos Roberts were ordained June 27, 1976.

It was: ‘To make known to Caribbean people the loving kindness of the heart of our God’.

Msgr Harvey has abbreviated it to ‘loving kindness’.  If during his tenure as Bishop of Grenada he did not love Grenada and its people and Church more than he does now, he said “I would have failed.”