Church gets new deacon …shaped through experience of the ‘cross’ - Jan 13


Rev Simon RostantA month shy of what might have been his third anniversary of ordination to the permanent diaconate – had he not fallen ill, retired Catholic school principal Simon Rostant (IN PHOTO) received Holy Orders last Sunday afternoon at Sacred Heart Church, Gasparillo.
Expressing his appreciation at the end of the Ordination Mass, Rostant thanked God, family, the parish community and all who supported him during “my extended journey”.
That extended journey to ordination was as a result of a stroke he suffered on November 21, 2009, which prevented him from being ordained as planned on February 6, 2010 as one of the archdiocese’s first permanent deacons.

Rev Simon Rostant is vested by wife Paula and daughter Alyssa. Looking on at right is his brother Lambert Bourne.
Rev Simon Rostant is vested by wife Paula and daughter Alyssa. Looking on at right is his brother Lambert Bourne.
Archbishop Joseph Harris lays hands on Rev Simon Rostant. Looking on are Reverends Derek Walcott and Dennis Bryan.
Archbishop Joseph Harris lays hands on Rev Simon Rostant. Looking on are Reverends Derek Walcott and Dennis Bryan.
Rev Simon Rostant, a former principal of Presentation College, Chaguanas, is congratulated by former Presentation Brother and principal of Presentation College, San Fernando, Michael Samuel. Rostant also served as principal of the San Fernando school for a short stint.
Rev Simon Rostant, a former principal of Presentation College, Chaguanas, is congratulated by former Presentation Brother and principal of Presentation College, San Fernando, Michael Samuel. Rostant also served as principal of the San Fernando school for a short stint.
Rev Simon Rostant with Archbishop Joseph Harris and other permanent deacons. Photos: Raymond Syms
Rev Simon Rostant with Archbishop Joseph Harris and other permanent deacons. Photos: Raymond Syms
Rev Rostant made special mention of the medical personnel, some of whom were present, who had helped him recover.
In his homily, chief celebrant Archbishop Joseph Harris said God, in his wisdom and for his purposes, had decided on another two years of formation for Rostant, “this time not books or intellectual pursuits but the formation gained through the self-emptying which any cross entails”.
He said, “This was a cross which was not only physical. It was a cross which entailed seeing all the other candidates achieve the goal which he could not achieve because of his illness. It was a cross which entailed, like that of Christ, leaving oneself completely in the hands of a Father whom we know to be loving but who appeared to be absent.”
“Simon, my brother,” the archbishop continued, “the experience of the cross which you have undergone must have prepared you to be a better minister for someone who needs the understanding care and concern that only the experience of the cross can give.”
Focusing on the Feast of the Epiphany being commemorated in the Church last Sunday, Archbishop Harris said that Gospel story taught “a great and important truth”: that God was an inclusive God and all peoples were called “to share in the salvation which God offers to the world”.
He said the disciples of Christ were called to make “the inclusivity of God our own” and challenged Rostant to make himself always available, “to proclaim by your words and your life, the message of the Epiphany… In this divided nation of ours, divided politically, ethnically, socially and financially, your life must proclaim to all the inclusivity of Christ, who was lifted up on high so that all might be saved.”
He said many men and women have lived this inclusivity of Christ, among them the late Archbishop Anthony Pantin, whom many considered “the true father of this nation”; Fr English, who founded the first credit union in T&T; Blessed Mother Teresa; the founders of teaching orders who educated those who otherwise would not be educated; and the founders of religious institutes dedicated to health care, who lived this inclusivity by looking after the sick and dying.
“To celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany, God’s self-revelation to the whole world, and to live its message is to commit oneself to bringing the experience of God, who is love, to every single human being we meet. It commits us to being inclusive. That, my dear brother, is the commitment that you accept today. Your diaconate ordination commits you to being a minister of God’s inclusivity in this Archdiocese of Port of Spain.”
“May your availability to the Father facilitate the self-revelation of God to many in our land to take place,” Archbishop Harris ended, after placing Rostant under the care and protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Vicar General Msgr Robert Llanos, Vicar for Clergy Fr Clyde Harvey, neighbouring Marabella/Pointe-a-Pierre parish priest and animator Msgr Michael de Verteuil, Chaguanas parish priest and Vicar for the Central Vicariate Fr Christopher Lumsden, Scarborough parish priest Fr Steve Duncan, Tortuga/Gasparillo parish priest Fr Alan Hall, and Fr Dwight Black OP concelebrated the Mass.
Permanent deacons Narine, Laurence, Toussaint, Mathura, Bryan, Walcott, Raghunanan, Moore, Woodruffe, Smith, de Verteuil (K), Supersad, Joab and Sylvester were present. So too was Guyana-born Rev Mike James, general secretary of the Antilles Episcopal Conference.
Rostant was vested with his stole and dalmatic by second wife Paula and daughter Alyssa, one of his three children from his first marriage. Rostant’s first wife, Margaret, died in 1994. His two other children, Elize and Kamara, sat in the front pew near his step-daughter Jiselle. His brothers, Albert Rostant and Lambert Bourne, also witnessed the ordination rite with other relatives, friends and parishioners from various communities.
The ordination rite, which included the presentation of the Book of Gospels, ended with Rostant receiving a fraternal embrace of peace from the archbishop, and then from his brother deacons. Rev Rostant was all smiles as he was introduced to the congregation by the archbishop as the archdiocese’s newest permanent deacon.
Before the final blessing, Archbishop Harris was presented with a large basket of fruit, while former parish priest Fr Duncan presented Rostant with new vestments on behalf of the parish community. Fr Duncan, who had nominated Rostant as a candidate for the Permanent Diaconate Programme, asked the parish community to continue “rallying” in prayer around him as he began his life as a permanent deacon.
Rostant thanked wife Paula for standing by him through “the most difficult moments” and pledged “to work in and for harmony with our Archbishop and all priests and authority, to fulfil the mission of Christ in our Archdiocese and our world”.
Parishioners shared in refreshments after the Mass, while the clergy joined the Rostant family for dinner.
– Raymond Syms

Full text of the Archbishop’s homily is online: www.catholictt.org

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