Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 25th 2014 Contents B6
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt May 25, 2014
I write this piece with a deep sense of pride and
admiration for a man who has served his calling
with deep devotion and fidelity for 60 years. This
sparkling accomplishment is made more important
since Bishop Emeritus Sydney Charles was one of
the first locally trained priests from the seminary
at Mount St Benedict, and also because he is my
late mother s brother. I thank God for you, and
you ll always be in my prayers, Uncle Sydney.
"It is not often that people fulfilled 60 years of
commitment to what they had undertaken." That
was Archbishop Joseph Harris paying tribute to Bishop
Emeritus Sydney Anicetus Charles in his homily dur-
ing a special Holy Mass to celebrate the occasion at
the St Joseph RC Church, St Joseph, last Sunday.
Archbishop Harris described Bishop Charles as a
"holy man," a description Archbishop Harris attributed
to his (Harris ) father, who was at one time headmaster
of the St Joseph Boys RC School, Bishop Charles
alma mater. Archbishop Harris also attended that
The head of the Roman Catholic Church in T&T
told the large congregation of family, friends and
worshippers that "holiness does not come easy," and
only happened through the acceptance of the cross.
He said, "Bishop Charles life has shown us the mark
of the cross in many ways."
The revolution in Grenada, which occurred while
Bishop Charles was serving there, "was a tremendous
cross." But Bishop Charles faced it with deep con-
viction, speaking "truth to power." It was not an easy
time for the bishop. But his sense of humour always
prevailed and he later said, "At one time Grenada
had two bishops and they both brought Grenadians
to their knees..."
Archbishop Harris said last Sunday s celebration
was to give thanks to God for "60 years of fidelity
in spite of the cross. He said each one of us as
Catholics must ask ourselves, "Am I following the
footsteps of this man, who, in spite of everything
has been faithful?"
He said some would say "yes"---but Archbishop
Harris said he had a "sneaking suspicion" that for
many, when the cross came, they bent a little. He
added, "Even if this happened, Bishop Charles, who
strived to be faithful, was an example to people of
faith who "let God s word shape and form their lives,
so that God s word makes them into other Christs.
And because they are like Christ, they become the
human face of Christ among us. Like Christ, they
help us to live the love and mercy."
Writing in the commemorative booklet, Sister
Phyllis Wharfe stated, "He (Bishop Charles) never
saw his assignments as positions of power or prestige.
Indeed, this humble servant of God is devoid of all
social climbing. Service is the hallmark of his life,
a service of sacrifice and suffering for which he was
prepared to give his life when threatened."
Bishop Charles was one of the first four "indigenous
clergy" (Archbishop Finbar Ryan) and the only one
alive. He was ordained at the Cathedral of the Immac-
ulate Conception on March 7, 1954. He served several
parishes in Trinidad, including San Juan, Chaguanas,
Carapichaima, Arima and the Cathedral as vicar gen-
eral and administrator. He was named bishop of St
Georges-in-Grenada on November 18 1974, and
ordained bishop on January 26 1975, where he served
until his retirement.
Through the British honours system, Bishop Charles
was awarded the Most Excellent Order of the British
Empire (CBE) by Queen Elizabeth II, an accolade he
received with great humility.
Vernon Khelawan is media relations officer of
Catholic Media Services Limited (Camsel), the
official communications arm of the Archdiocese
of Port-of-Spain. Its offices are located at 31 Inde-
pendence Square. Telephone: 623-7620.
A life of humble service honoured
Bishop Charles was one of the first four "indigenous clergy"
(Archbishop Finbar Ryan) and the only one alive. He was ordained
at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on March 7, 1954.
He served several parishes in Trinidad, including San Juan,
Chaguanas, Carapichaima, Arima and the Cathedral as vicar general
and administrator. He was named bishop of St Georges-in-Grenada
on November 18 1974, and ordained bishop on January 26 1975,
where he served until his retirement.
ABOUT BISHOP EMERITUS SYDNEY CHARLES
Links Archive May 24th 2014 May 26th 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page