Five days before Christmas Day, the faithful gathered at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception stood and applauded as Archbishop Edward Gilbert presented to them their newest ‘gift’ – Rev Fr Leslie Tang Kai.
More than 40 priests concelebrated the December 20 Ordination Mass, including Vicar General Msgr Christian Pereira, Vicar for Administration Fr Jason Gordon, Cathedral administrator Fr Kenneth Assing, former Regional Seminary rector Msgr Michael de Verteuil, and Fr Hugh Logan of the diocese of St George’s, Grenada, who was ordained in August.
Three deacons were also present for the celebration: Deacons Rev Nigel Karam of the diocese of Roseau, Dominica, Rev William Howard of the archdiocese of Castries, St Lucia, and this archdiocese’s Rev Jason Boatswain, who was ordained a week earlier at the Cathedral.
In his welcoming remarks, Archbishop Gilbert said the archdiocese was blessed as some dioceses did not have ordinations of any kind for years.
|Tunapuna parish priest Fr Reginald Hezekiah imposes hands on the new priest. Looking on at left is Cathedral administrator Fr Kenneth Assing
|Fr Tang Kai is presented to the congregation by Archbishop Gilbert
Tang Kai’s family, led by his parents Peter and Jean, sat up front while parishioners of St John the Evangelist, Diego Martin - his home parish – occupied many of the other pews. A Diego Martin parish choir, joined by the seminarians, led the singing and music in the choir loft.
Natasha Michelle Tang Kai and the candidate’s aunt, Sr Gertrude Tang Kai SJC, did the readings, while Deacon Karam proclaimed the gospel.
In his homily, the archbishop urged the congregation to continue praying for vocations and told Tang Kai to make Christ his personal friend.
Following the homily, the rite of ordination continued with the Examination of the Candidate, the Promise of Obedience, and an Invitation to Prayer. Seminarians sang the Litany of the Saints as the candidate lay prostrate in front the altar.
After the laying on of hands by the archbishop came the Prayer of Consecration, making Tang Kai the archdiocese’s newest priest.
He was then vested with his stole and chasuble by his parents, with Msgr Kenneth Spence assisting. Archbishop Gilbert anointed his hands with the oil of chrism, and he was presented with the bread and wine with the words: “Receive the oblation of the holy people, to be offered to God. Understand what you do, imitate what you celebrate, and conform your life to the mystery of the Lord’s cross.”
Afterwards, he was greeted with a hug from the archbishop and from each of his brother priests.
As occurred at his diaconate ordination family and friends crowded round to greet him at the Sign of Peace until he was urged to return to the sanctuary.
Before leaving the Cathedral for a reception at the Catholic Centre car park, Fr Tang Kai thanked the archbishop, clergy, deacons, music ministry, his family and the congregation for their love and support.
Fr Tang Kai celebrated his first Mass last Sunday evening in Diego Martin, and his second in San Fernando the following day. The archbishop is to announce in due course the parish to which he will be assigned.