By Kaelanne Jordan (Catholic News)
The ordination to the diaconate of Brother Peter Emmanuel and Trinidadian, Reverend Collin Victor Jackson to the priesthood marked a “historic day”, a day of “great joy and jubilation” for the Diocese of Kingstown in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
So said ordaining bishop, Bishop Gerard County CSSp at the 5 p.m. Mass of Ordination Thursday August 6, the Feast of the Transfiguration.
The venue was the Cathedral of the Assumption.
Speaking to the candidates, Bishop County said that their journey has been a long one through which they persevered.
He first met Rev Jackson in 2002 when he was student at the formation house with the Holy Ghost Fathers. There was a vacancy for formator, and Rev Jackson “begged” Bishop County, then parish priest for the diocese of Tampico, Mexico, to be his formator.
“Collin, I took that into consideration, but my mission, I had to continue my mission in Mexico. Little did I know that 18 years after I will be ordaining you as the bishop of St Vincent and the Grenadines. That is how God works ….” Bishop County said.
He expressed thanks to Rev Jackson for choosing to assume his duties in the diocese.
Bishop County recalled he met Nigeria-born brother Emmanuel when he was Fr Angus Fraser’s CSSp secretary in 2017.
Fr Fraser was the first local Vincentian to be ordained a Catholic priest. He spent more than 50 years in Nigeria doing missionary work.
Bishop County said that he was also “pleased” to be ordaining Fr Angus’ “spiritual son” to the transitional diaconate. A candidate, he said, Fr Angus recommended “highly”.
“I have a letter that recommended you to [be] ordained from him. He was on his way back to visit me when we were going to make arrangements for your ordination in 2018 but unfortunately, he died in London,” he said.
As deacon, Bishop County prayed that Emmanuel does the will of God generously, serves God and mankind in love and joy.
“Like the men the apostles chose for works of charity, you should be a man of good reputation filled with wisdom and the Holy Spirit. Show before God and mankind that you are above every suspicion or blame, a true minister of Christ and of God’s mysteries—a man firmly rooted in faith. Never turn away from the hope which the gospel offers,” Bishop County said.
He urged the candidate not only to listen to God’s Word but also preach it. “Hold the mystery of faith with a clear conscience. Express in action what you proclaim by word and mouth. Then the people of Christ, brought to life by the Spirit will be an offering God accepts. Finally, on the last day, when you go to meet the Lord, you will hear Him say ‘Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord’.”
Bro Emmanuel then made his commitment to celibacy.
Bishop County told Bro Emmanuel and Rev Jackson that they must consider carefully the ministry to which they are to be promoted in the Church. They are to serve Christ the teacher, priest, and pastor in His ministry which is to make His own body, the church, grow “incessantly” into a people of God and a temple of the Holy Spirit. He reminded them that they are called to serve, not to be served.
The newly ordained deacon was vested by permanent deacon Ancel Knights.
When a stole is used in a deacon’s ordination, it is conferred and worn over the shoulder, draping at his side.
Fr Jackson was vested with his stole around his neck, hanging in front his body. When he was completely vested, he returned to the Bishop for the holy anointing as a priest.
Bishop County read greetings to Fr Jackson from his family in Trinidad.
“We’re extremely proud and grateful….you proved to be a strong and resilient person….we watch you grow stronger in your faith…..although we are not physically here, let there be no doubt that our hearts are with you…congratulations to you always…..”
He also read congratulatory messages from the Holy Ghost Fathers—Bishop Emeritus Malcolm Galt, Fr Tom Willemsen, a letter from Fr Jackson’s’s former parish priest at St Francis of Assisi, Sangre Grande, Fr Peter De La Bastideand Fr Sean Doggett
In a brief word, Fr Jackson, on behalf of Rev Emmanuel thanked Bishop County for accepting them into the diocese.
“We thank you for the confidence you’ve placed in us,” he said.
He gave a virtual blessing to the St Francis of Assisi parish tuned in and family and friends.
Both Fr Jackson and Rev Emmanuel will be appointed to St John’s Parish and will continue their work in education.