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Monday, September 24, 2012

As we Celebrate Repulic Day we Look Back at a Hero




A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS -
The People's Priest

Archbishop Anthony Pantin

Archbishop
Anthony Gordon Pantin
August 27, 1929 - March 12, 2000
(A Sunday Guardian Tribute - 19.3.00)
Anthony Gordon Pantin was born in Port of Spain in August 27, 1929, the second son of Julian Andrew Pantin, a business executive and his wife Agnes, nee Mazeley.
He received his primary education at Sacred Heart School and Belmont Intermediate School (now the Belmont Boys’ Secondary RC School). From the latter he won a Government Scholarship, (called a Government Exhibition in those days) to St Mary’s College. Also among the group of Exhibition winners from that school was Ellis Clarke who would become first President of independent Trinidad and Tobago.
He also took part in sports, playing cricket and football and was a member of the Sixth Trinidad Sea Scouts, under the direction of the saintly Fr Cristobal Valdez. At St Mary’s, Anthony Pantin was in the top academic stream and although considered a strong contender for the open island scholarship, the young Pantin decided to enter the priesthood at age 17 and was anxious to begin his priestly studies.
His elder brother, Fr Gerald “Gerry” Pantin once observed that “Tony” wanted to be a priest from the time he was seven years old. He had been an acolyte at St Patrick’s Church from an early age.
He spent a short time teaching at St Mary’s College before embarking for Canada.
Archbishop Pantin entered the novitiate of the Holy Ghost Congregation in Canada in 1946 and attended the University of Montreal, graduating with his BA degree. He returned to Trinidad in 1949 for a three-year teaching stint at St Mary’s College.
In 1952 he left for Dublin, Ireland, where he pursued studies in Theology. He was ordained priest on the 3rd July, 1955 and was sent to Guadeloupe as a missionary priest until 1959. He returned to Trinidad to teach at Fatima College in Port of Spain until 1964.
In 1965 he returned to St Mary’s College where he was elected to the post of Religious Superior, where he served until 1967. In November of that year, he was requested to accept responsibilities as head of the Archdiocese of Port of Spain, a post which was left vacant by the resignation of the legendary Count Finbar Ryan. Father Anthony Pantin’s Episcopal consecration took place on March 19, 1968.
As Archbishop he took the motto, “All things to all men” which would today be translated, “All things to all people”. During his 32 years as Archbishop, he made strenuous efforts to fulfill the expectations of that motto.
Bishop Galt, who was a close friend from school days remembers him as having the ability to meet people of all classes on equal terms. He was also able to censure anyone if he thought that that person had done something wrong, but his admonitions were always made in a charitable manner.
He was especially concerned with enriching the lives of the disadvantaged and underprivileged. He insisted on seeing anyone who visited, took all telephone calls, and wrote innumerable letters to people at home and abroad.
It was his great pleasure to visit the hospitals, and homes for the elderly and destitute on Christmas Day, where he would chat and sing with the inmates.
He founded the Mary Care Centre to provide a home for pregnant unmarried teenagers. In his sermons he usually called attention to the lot of the homeless and the lonely.
He is remembered as a mediator in the troubled times of both the Black Power crisis and the attempted coup.
Many people also refer to the encouragement they received from him during times of personal crisis.
He was instrumental in forming the Inter-Religious Organization and took an active role in that group. He also took an active role in the activities of the Antilles Episcopal Conference, the association of Caribbean Bishops.
He was a humanist, the people’s priest

1 comment:

Ramesh said...

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