Give people hope; love and serve the people; respectfully teach the truth. These were some of the “fundamental responsibilities” which newly-ordained Co-adjutor Archbishop Joseph Harris will have to perform as “you accept responsibility for sharing in the pastoral care of the territories that make up the Antilles Episcopal Conference” said Archbishop Edward Gilbert principal consecrator and homilist.
“Fr Joe” was ordained co-adjutor archbishop at a celebratory Mass of Episcopal Ordination at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception last Wednesday evening attended by hundreds, and broadcast live on television and radio, and streamed over the Internet. There were some nervous moments during the homily as Archbishop Gilbert retired for a while as he was feeling unwell. Bishop Malcolm Galt completed the homily and Archbishop Gilbert recovered to carry on with the ceremony. Among the faithful in attendance were Archbishop Harris’ family members, who did the readings and were involved in the procession with bread and wine, and with ring, mitre and pastoral staff. In his homily which formed part of the ordination rite, Archbishop Gilbert urged Co-adjutor Archbishop Harris to serve all: laypersons, the poor and the elderly, priests, deacons, religious. Conversely, the faithful must love and cooperate with the bishop. “Remember Archbishop and remember People of God, a Bishop has not been called to serve alone. As has been made clear in three synod sessions, all the People of God have been called to build Church not just you.”
Speaking of giving people hope, Archbishop Gilbert said this was important “in our age when secularisation, secularism and neo-paganism have challenged in subtle and not-so-subtle ways the faith and values of the entire world.” He told Archbishop Harris, who will succeed him when he retires in December, not to be intimidated by “the cavalier rejection by so many people of the doctrinal and ethical foundations of gospel truth. The Bishop must respectfully teach the profound truth of the Catholic tradition to help people meet the spiritual confusion that complicates the lives of too many people.” Speaking on behalf of the AEC bishops seated in the sanctuary, Archbishop Gilbert welcomed Archbishop Harris. “We wish you well and we look forward to collaborating with you for the good of the Caribbean Church. May the Mother of God, who emptied herself during her entire life, intercede for you as you begin this new phase of your life as an Archbishop of the Catholic Church.” More in next week's site update. –