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Address by Bishop Darius at the Synod Rally, 28 October 2012

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Bishop Darius recalled the day in July 2002 when he received the news that he had been chosen to be the Bishop of Grenada. The gospel of that day was from ..... Peter was afraid and called on Jesus “Don’t you care? We are sinking.”  That image of the church as a boat in a storm has stayed with him especially during the hurricanes Ivan and Emily. “This synod is an attempt to give stability and focus to the diocese. Each person has a part to play” the bishop said.

Quoting Revelation 21:5 “Behold I make all things new.” And Isaiah 43:18-19 “ ... no need to remember the past, look I Am doing something new.” Bishop Darius said “God is doing something new in Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique. If the synod is to be a success we must not live in the past.

“We have been inspired to identify three priorities. However even if we have a pastoral plan and an implementation team, it won’t work unless we all change our attitudes. It is my responsibility and your responsibility to identify this “new thing” through which we will become a community of missionary disciples of Christ.

“Individualism is a curse of today. Each one has a part to play. What is preventing us from becoming a vibrant church when we have so much talent in our parishes? From 2002 have been limping along. Now God wants to give us a future. What are YOU willing to do? I cannot do it alone! The effort must be collaborative – bishop, priests and laity.

“Our synod is the bridge between the past and the future, the old and the new. ‘Forward ever, backward never!’ Visualise what our church can be if we all implement the synod resolutions. I want to see a church where all God’s people sacrifice to build a vibrant community. It demands sacrifice and a changed attitude. Being a disciple starts with conversion. Each one of us must ask ‘Am I converted?’”

Referring to his ill-health the bishop thanked God that he was able to be present at the rally. Appealing to the lay people he said “If in your parish your priest does not want to move, get up and get!” Speaking to the clergy he said “the strength of the diocese rests in you and in your leadership as a parish priest because you have the people right there with you. We who have studied must give to the people what they need to become mature Catholic Christians.” He reminded the priests of the charge Jesus gave to Peter (John xxx) “Jesus first asked Peter ‘Do you love me?’ and then commanded him to ‘Feed my sheep.’  Are we actually feeding the flock of Christ?”

Speaking of the three areas of priority for pastoral action Bishop Darius referred to an initiative of Sacred Heart parish, Tivoli. Parishioners visited the homes of lapsed Catholics and celebrated a “Homecoming Sunday.” Five hundred people attended Mass on that day. “This is what we want to do all over the diocese. We don’t only want them to come to Mass but to know who Jesus Christ is.”

“Stewardship is a call to recognise that all is a gift from God. Cherish God’s gifts. We are called to live a life of gratitude for time, talents and treasure.” Referring to the third priority area he said “Young People are the Church, not of tomorrow but of here and now.” He commended the Youth Music Ministry at the Rally and thanked Sr. Gillian Jerome for her work with youth. Stressing the need to involve youth in the parish he referred to one parish pastoral council where the youngest member was 67. “It is not surprising that the young ones don’t want to come!” He called on parish priests and parish council members to involve the youths in the affairs of the parish. “It is their right” exclaimed the bishop.

In conclusion  Bishop Darius made some points

1.     An Implementation Team has been appointed with Ms. Valerie Gordon as chairperson.

2.     The identity of the Episcopal Vicars will be made known soon.

3.     A full report, in the form of a pastoral plan will be done in the New Year.

4.      The deans will play an important role” the bishop called on the deans to mobilise the priests to ensure that the resolutions are being carried out.

5.     The Synod is a work in progress. Things cannot change overnight. In the words of the national anthem ‘Ever conscious of God we aspire, build, advance.’”

Lastly Bishop Darius thanked all who played a part in the Synod process. “We are not rich in money” he said “but we are wealthy in human resources. Light a fire in your church. My hope is that our Church will be lively, nourished by the word of God and the Eucharist.” He finished by formally promulgating the Resolutions of the Synod.