Order of Preachers (Dominicans) of Trinidad and Tobago.
Monday, September 24, 2012
As we Celebrate Repulic Day we Look Back at a Hero
A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS - The
Archbishop Anthony Gordon Pantin August 27, 1929 - March 12,
(A Sunday Guardian Tribute -
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
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
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.