Order of Preachers (Dominicans) of Trinidad and Tobago.
Saturday, March 16, 2013
Rest in Peace Msgr Urban Peschier
Name: Msgr Urban Peschier – Diocesan
Date of Ordination: November 1, 1953
Portfolio: Defender of the Bond, Marriage Tribunal
By Christophe Cole
Monsignor Urban Peschier was born in Chaguanas where he lived for about two years. Baptised in the parish of St Philip & St James, he went on to receive the sacraments of First Communion and Confirmation at the parish of Santa Rosa in Arima, while attending Arima Boys’ RC School.
He says that like many priests, he got his call to priesthood at a very young age. He remembers his father telling him that as a pre-schooler he would point to the priest on the altar, indicating he wanted to do what the priest was doing. He remembers too that a significant step in his journey came when he was selected to be an altar server in his parish. He was very excited about this, and so were his parents, as only five boys were selected. He says that this support from his parents continued throughout his youth and straight into his decision to enter the seminary.
He entered minor seminary on January 19, 1943 and attended major seminary over the period 1948 to 1953. During this time minor and major orders were received including the diaconate on April 12, 1953.
One of the first fruits of the Seminary of St John Vianney and the Uganda Martyrs, he was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Finbar Ryan, OP at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on November 1, 1953.
His first appointment was to Princes Town as assistant parish priest on January 1, 1954. Following a nine-month stay in St George’s, Grenada in 1956, he was assigned to Arima parish as assistant on December 31, 1956. On January 10, 1961, he received his first official appointment as parish priest of Erin. Appointments which followed were, parish priest of Princes Town, May 1967, Vicar Forane (Dean) of Princes Town Deanery, June 8, 1967, parish priest of Mt Lambert, September 30, 1971 and parish priest of San Rafael, December 1, 1977.
At his 25th anniversary of ordination, he was named honorary Chaplain to His Holiness on March 20, 1979 and received the title Monsignor. From September 1, 1984 to May 23, 1986 he was away on study leave at St Paul’s University, Canada, pursuing courses in Canon Law.
Before graduating, he was assigned to the Archdiocesan Marriage Tribunal on April 3, 1986. On November 1, 1991, he was appointed as Judicial Vicar of the Archdiocese, a post he held until December 2005.
He says that parish work was the ground for some of his most rewarding experiences as a priest but also formed the basis for some of the most challenging. He recalled that when faced with challenges he would remember the words about the sacrament of Holy Order from the Catechism (which a child had to know “by heart”) – those who received the sacrament “receive power and grace”. His work at the Marriage Tribunal presented another set of challenges; he was required to work on various types of cases of failed or invalid marriages.
Today, although on partial retirement, Msgr Peschier continues to serve on the Marriage Tribunal. Residing at the Cathedral presbytery he assists at many Eucharistic celebrations at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
He recalls St Paul in 1 Cor 12:4ff “there are all sorts of service to be done, but always to the same Lord…” expressing the hope that priests would be able to continue seeing the need for their priestly services and ministry and allow those ministries to take precedence.