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Sunday July 29, 2007 FRONT PAGE NEWS
Bishop Rivas appointed to St Lucia


Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Bishop of KingstownRobert Rivas as Coadjutor Archbishop of Castries, St Lucia.

As coadjutor, Trinidad-born Bishop Rivas who has been bishop of Kingstown, St Vincent since 1990, will assist Archbishop Kelvin Felix in his present duties. He will succeed Archbishop Felix on his retirement. Coadjutor Archbishop Rivas took up residence in St Lucia, on Friday July 20.

Archbishop Rivas will be officially presented to the people of St Lucia and assume duties as Archbishop of Castries on Sunday, October 14, at a special Mass in the Castries Cathedral.

With effect from July 19, Coadjutor Archbishop Rivas is now the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Kingstown pending the appointment of a bishop of Kingstown.

The new Archbishop has appointed Fr Pio Atonio, as his delegate in Kingstown effective July 19.  The delegate will be his resident representative in the day-to-day administration of the diocese of Kingstown from October 15, 2007.  Coadjutor Archbishop Rivas is the founding bishop of the Diocese of Kingstown.

Last weekend (July 21) Archbishop Rivas held a press conference at the Chancery in Castries on Saturday and celebrated Mass at the monastery in Coubaril. He is expected to attend the School of Liturgy in Trinidad from August 7 to 11.

About Archbishop Rivas

Archbishop Robert Rivas was born in the village of La Pastora, Arouca, Trinidad, on June 7, 1946.

 He is the son of the late Sabina and Placido Rivas, and has one sister and five brothers. Having completed his secondary studies in the Dominican College of Holy Cross, Arima, he entered the novitiate of the Irish Province of the Dominican Order in Cork, Ireland. 

Coadjutor Archbishop Robert Rivas
Coadjutor Archbishop Robert Rivas

After ordination in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Port of Spain, by Archbishop Anthony Pantin on June 27, 1971, he went to the University of St Thomas (the Angelicum), Rome, where he obtained the Licence in Theology.

After Rome, he returned to Ireland where he successfully completed a course in Radio and Television Production, and received a diploma in Communications. 

On his return to Trinidad he spent his first two years of ministry at St Theresa’s, Woodbrook, Port of Spain, under the direction of the future Master of the Order of Preachers, Rev Damian Byrne.

He continued in parish ministry for another three years in South and North East Trinidad.

The following years were devoted to involvement in social communications, Campus Ministry at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus, and the formation of young Dominicans for the priesthood and religious life.  During this time he completed a programme in Spiritual Direction. 

His great wish has always been for more Dominican communities in the Caribbean and for Caribbean integration. From 1985 to 1989, in addition to his work in formation, he served as a special Delegate of the Master of the Dominican Order in Rome, to promote the unity of the Order among the Vicariates in the Caribbean. He was the first Dominican in the Caribbean to be appointed to this position. 

On October 28, 1989, his appointment as the first Bishop of the newly created Diocese of Kingstown in St Vincent and the Grenadines was announced in Rome.

He was ordained bishop of Kingstown on January 22, 1990.  Bishop Rivas has the distinction of being the first Caribbean-born Dominican to become a bishop in the West Indies in 500 years of evangelisation. 

Bishop Rivas has served as the chairperson of the Family and Life Commission for the Antilles Episcopal Conference (AEC), as a member of the Commission for Social Communications (Decos), of the Council of Bishops of Latin America (CELAM) and the chairperson of the National Committee Against Violence in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).

He served as President of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Christian Council, Chairperson of the National Monitoring and Consultative Mechanism (NMCM), the National Consultative Committee (NCC) and the Police Oversight Committee. 

He also served as visitator of the Regional Seminary of St John Vianney and the Uganda Martyrs and as a member of the Pontifical Council for Latin America (CAL).

Presently, Archbishop Rivas is the vice president of the National Committee on Crime Prevention (NCCP) and President of the SVG Christian Council. He is the chairman of Board of the Regional Seminary. chairman of the AEC Youth Commission and a member of the AEC Liturgical Commission.

Bishop Rivas preaches extensively promoting the missions through Mission Appeals in the USA as well as conducting parish missions and retreats for clergy and religious within the Caribbean and the continental USA. 

He is the editor of the Catholic Way, a diocesan publication, produced his first Pastoral Letter for the Jubilee Year 2000 and published the documents of Assembly ’90 and ’98 which are significant documents outlining the Pastoral Plan and development for the Diocese of Kingstown. He is the founding bishop of the Diocese of Kingstown.

As an international speaker he has addressed the National Conference of the Cursillo Movement in the USA, National Conference of Charismatic Renewal in USA, Couples for Christ in the USA and the Caribbean, the National Conference for the Directors of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the USA, International Conference for Priests in Medjugorje as well as a Festival for Youth from all over the world in Medjugorje. 

He also addressed an OAS Conference at the Second Assembly of the Association of Caribbean Electoral Organizations in Jamaica on the “Role of Civil Society and Political Parties in the Electoral Process”. 

He was also a speaker at World Youth Day in Toronto, Canada (2002). He addressed the Union of Bicol Priests in Naga City, Philippines in 2006.

On May 31, 2005, he was appointed Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Bridgetown, Barbados. On July 19, 2007, he was appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Castries.


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