Saturday, December 12, 2015

December in the Missions Daily Diary - DAY SIX

DAY SIX - Saturday, December 12, 2015

With the Retreat Ended, I Made Time For A
Day Trip to the Island of Bequia - Next Island Over - With My Irish Volunteer Friends, Fergal and Martin.

Bequia, that's it in the shadows! That's where we were headed today.

Looking back at Kingstown, we set out for Bequia on the ferry.

With my sea-sick pill inside me, Martin, the other Irish volunteer comforts me about not getting sea sick.

Bequia, seemed a lot better off financially than St. Vincent, but it was still a study in contrasts. Expensive yachts from all over the world and shanty homes, beautiful beaches and luxury hotels, friendly people and European tourists, honking horns and driving on the left, buildings needing attention and funny home made signs were everywhere. The people talk to each other on the streets, greet strangers and laugh a lot among themselves!

A parked yacht from New Zealand. 

Princess Margaret Beach

Getting from one beach to the next is not always an easy path to walk.

I believe this man on his porch is a Rastafarian. Rastifarianism began in the slums of Jamaica in the 1920s and 30s.  

Mr. B S Barbeque? Owensboro, stand aside!

"Darkie D's Cool Spot"

Dee Dee used to be a diver, but ruined one of her eardrums, so she got into the water taxi business. Her cell phone is water protected and it floats! She must have learned the hard way!

The islands only Catholic Church with the school and rectory above it on the left and extra classroom on the right. 

Fergal, Martin and I stopped for a coffee after we landed - and had lunch later on. They had chicken and chips, barracuda and chips and I had lobster and pasta. 

They were taking the ex-Prime Minister's wife to her place of rest. 
The funeral took place in the main Anglican Church, the predominant Church in these islands. Many politicians from the main island of St. Vincent attended.


Having had a wonderful day on Bequai, we took the 4:30 ferry back to St. Vincent and got home @6:00.


Friday, December 11, 2015

December in the Mission Daily Diary - DAY FIVE

DAY FIVE - Friday, December 11, 2015


The day  would not begin without "Niggy," a local street person, showing up at the kitchen window for his daily buttered bread and coffee with lots of milk, The next step is always the battle over why he is not also given money or cigarettes. He is a simple, charming and funny little man with a good sense of humor. Everybody seems to know him and love him. 

Chaos in the kitchen as we all try to cook our own breakfasts.


Group Mass in the Tiny Chapel
(Again, Fergal is taking the photograph.)

That's  Fergal, our photographer, on the right.

A view from the balcony of the Pastoral Center where we are holding our retreat. 

A View of the Center of the Island.

Lucy's Version of Discernment.

Most of us in the group are retired, so for many of us this "new thing" we are setting out to do is certainly a scary "new trick" for us "old dogs."


The retreat ended about an hour ago - 4:00 pm local time. 
From both ends, the response is this - "I didn't know that to expect, but it was way better than I expected!" They said they learned so much from me and I can say the same thing. I learned so much from them as well. I can't wait to have the time to process all that has happened these past two days. I am going home with a lot to think about. It has certainly been worth my second trip down here. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

December in the Missions Daily Dairy - DAY FOUR

DAY FOUR - Thursday, December 10, 2015


Retreat Participants

Ancel Knights

Eardley Martin

Eustace Francis

Fergal Redmond

Victor Hypolite

Volton Hutchinson

"The Group"
(Fergal Redmond (shown above) took the photograph)

You won't believe what we had for lunch! Kentucky Fried Chicken! The cook was out for a holiday so we did what we do at home - we sent out for some fast food! Yes, we could have ordered from Pizza Hut or Subway as well! 

I presented them all with a journal with their name embossed in gold to keep notes during their discernment period. 


Diocese of Kingstown, SVG
Rev. Ronald Knott, Director

Conference: CALLED
Why was I born? 
What is a call? 
One-to-One (1)
Conference: CALLED II
How do I hear my call?
Where will my call lead me?
One-to-one (2)
One-to-one (3)
Conference: CALLED III
The Call of Jesus
Called to Carry On the Work of Jesus 
Conference: CALLED IV
God Chooses the Weak and Makes Them Strong: Examples from
Scripture and Church History 

One on One (4)
One on One (5)
Conference: CALLED V
Spiritual Leadership in the Universal Call to Holiness
One on One (6)
Conference: CALLED VI 
The Two Arms of the Bishop: Diaconate and thePresbyterate
Made Holy and Making Others Holy Through Your Ministry 

Farewell and Next Steps


A Regular Visitor 

Father Rex Ramos, a Filipino priest serving on three of the other islands, came in yesterday and stayed the night. I met him the last time I was here. We had a great conversation and got caught up. He told me how he preserves his own sardines and dries fish for himself and to give away. He also showed me on his cell phone a dish of lobster and pasta he made recently. He is quite the fisherman.  I will visit his islands when I come down in February. He will be going back to his islands today. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

December in the Missions Daily Diary - DAY THREE

DAY THREE - Wednesday December 10, 2015

Today is Election Day. Lots of energy about the election. Long lines reported at voting stations.  When you vote, you dip your finger into ink to prove you have voted (and to prevent you from trying to vote more than once).

(By the way, people here are also very aware of our upcoming election for President in the U.S. Several of the people I have talked to cannot believe what they are seeing and hearing.)
One of the women I ran into here last night was upset that she had been mysteriously taken off the ballot the day before the election. She was sure is was part of the party-in-power corruption. It will be interesting to see how things turn out and whether I can even understand the results.

I am staying at the Pastoral Center.

The first staff person to arrive for duty here at the RC Pastoral Center/Chancery/Bishop's House/Retreat Center is its capable Director. She, too, is a volunteer, having retired from her family owned department store business.

 Caszie de Freitas (born an raised here from Portuguese and English parents - thus the Portuguese name.)

The second staff person to show up was Collita Seyer, the wonderful cook, who is having a little breakfast before work. 

The third staff person to show up this morning is Daphne Paynter, the bishop's secretary. This photo was taken at her home when I was here in April. 

The fourth staff person to report for work is the friendly housekeeper, Pam Sam. 

The fifth and sixth staff persons to report for duty are (right to left) Maraika Young (Biblical Coordinator) and Catherine Lewis (Integral Human Development). They are in charge of formation programs for the diocese.

Today, the bishop asked me to spend some time with a young man who is discerning a possible call to the priesthood. Meet Kyle James. Kyle graduated recently from our version of high school with the highest honors in the country. Science is his real passion. He would make a wonderful priest/teacher in the Catholic school system. Pray for him.


Tonight the six men discerning whether they will begin the permanent deacon program will arrive to begin our retreat in the morning. Two will be coming from Union Island, one of the other islands in this country which is made up of a string of 32 islands. 

I couldn't let the day go by without this shot of the two Popes during the ceremonies opening the Year of Mercy. Isn't this what it's all about - two different perspectives embracing one another?

My presence down here is really my attempt to do something daring during this special year - embracing another part of our Catholic (universal) Church.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

December in the MIssions Daily Daily - DAY TWO

DAY TWO - Tuesday, December 8, 2015

After being picked up at the airport last night by Seminarian, Omar (see below) @11:00 pm and spending the night at Bishop Gordon's house, having Mass this morning and lunch at noon, I was taken to the airport by the bishop for the flight to the Diocese of Kingstown (Bishop Gordon's other diocese) St. Vincent and the Grenadines.  Here is a shot of the bishop after lunch.

Omar Valmond, originally from Dominica, is one of three seminarians for the Diocese of Bridgetown, Barbados.

Kirt Prospere attends St. Meinrad Seminary 

Carl Philadelphia originally from Guyane

I flew LIAT AIRLINES from Barbados to St. Vincent. I was second to board behind this man.

Landed in Kingstown, SVG, a couple of hours ago.

I was met at the airport by my two Irish volunteer friends, Fergal and Martin.

It is Election Day tomorrow in SVG. Lot's of noisy trucks with megaphones, loud music and signs with condemnations of the other party. Makes me feel right at home!