|Fr Roger Pascall – Not your everyday priest - Oct 11|
|Series - Priests of the Archdiocese|
|Thursday, 08 October 2009 14:57|
By Chrelle Moses
Name: Fr Roger Pascall - Diocesan
Date of Ordination: June 24, 1984
Portfolio: Parish Priest, Erin; teacher, St Benedict’s, La Romaine
Imagine winning an athletic scholarship. Now imagine how your life will be from that point forward. I am sure lots of of you are thinking of the fabulous lives led by many a professional athlete. It is hardly likely that you see your future as a Roman Catholic priest. Now imagine, this is actually the story of Fr Roger Pascall.
“Father P”, as he is affectionately called, is without a doubt not your everyday Catholic priest. In fact, he is a pretty remarkable character. He grew up in Maraval in a solid Catholic home with a tight-knit family; the middle child of five.
He attended Nelson Street Boys’ for his primary school education and completed secondary school at Presentation College, San Fernando. He is very proud of the fact that the passed for Queen’s Royal College and had it not been for his father getting a job in San Fernando, today he would proudly be a QRC old boy.
At secondary school he was an accomplished athlete and not surprisingly won an athletic scholarship for track and field. In that same year he had a successful showing at the CARIFTA games. He went on to spend a year in the seminary to determine if he was being called to the priesthood, after which he took up his scholarship in the US. There he studied, sociology, religion, philosophy and theology. No one felt he would return, as they all assumed US culture would be too great an attraction. Not even the bishop believed he would return.
Four years later, he was back in Trinidad where he spent three more years in the seminary. It is important to note that it was not religious life that called him back. In fact, after being immersed in US culture and being offered an arranged marriage, it was Trinidad that called him back home. For Fr Pascall, his call to priesthood is somewhat ambiguous; his was no traditional divine call, no profound moment, and no great symbolic experience. He was enjoying a wonderful life and priesthood was a conscious, practical decision.
Priests have many responsibilities; they are always being called upon to serve. As if this was not enough, Fr Pascall chose to work in one of the most demanding professions. He is a teacher. He has taught at Mayaro Composite, St Martin’s Girls’, Aquinas College in the Bahamas and is now at St Benedict’s College San Fernando.
Again, his decision to work as a teacher was a conscious, practical decision. It gives him a sense of independence and real world spirituality that may sometimes elude clergy. For Fr Pascall teaching is one of his most rewarding endeavours as it affords him the opportunity to engage young minds in open, honest discussion, forcing them to challenge the norm and search for their own answers to some of life’s most perplexing questions.
As for his pastoral work, he has always been assigned remote parishes and it is there he discerned the need for the class structure of the Church to be broken down. He calls for greater honesty within the Church.
When asked about the persons he most often encounters in his ministry. He revealed that his sheep are often the neglected, at-risk persons who sadly appear beyond Church. Often his work is not recognised and takes place invisibly. This he does not mind, as for him, his role is not priest or saviour, in the traditional sense, but simply a listening ear and an alternative to the turmoil of people’s situations.
Practical, honest, charitable and positively humorous “Father P” is a remarkable person. A couple years past his fiftieth birthday, he says this is the happiest time of his life. He is accomplished, content and committed to his work. He is currently pursuing his PhD at the University of the West Indies and is really excited about his case study involving a historic analysis of Catholic education to discover common feature and their possible implications.
Fr Pascall is a hands-on, practical, energetic priest who keenly engages all that life has to offer. When asked if he would change anything about his life, very adamantly, he said that if he could relive his life, he would do it all over again.