Pope Francis’ representative to the English, Dutch and French-speaking Caribbean territories has praised the Archdiocese of Port of Spain for its ability to produce priests worthy of becoming bishops.
Speaking at last week Saturday’s Episcopal ordination of Msgr Robert Llanos, Papal Nuncio Archbishop Nicola Girasoli explained to the congregation that Archbishop Joseph Harris came to him one day to make a request and also to share one of his dreams. He joked that while he didn’t have the power to fulfil dreams, he assisted with the request, which was for an auxiliary bishop. He said it was “an easy” request to satisfy since this Archdiocese has “produced many bishops for the region”.
Addressing newly-ordained Bishop Llanos, the Nuncio said: “The episcopacy must not be seen as a promotion or a position of power.” To much laughter, he described “the most common sickness” among bishops as deafness, explaining that many forget they were once priests. “Be humble. Be humble. Be humble. Imitate Pope Francis. Be faithful and loyal to your Archbishop. Together with him, clergy and laity, make the people happy.”
Concerning the dream, the Nuncio said the archbishop shared that he wanted more vocations so he could reopen the Seminary. He noted that Archbishop Harris has generated “two brothers” (bishops) but “no sons” (priests), and appealed to the faithful to help Archbishop Harris realise his dream. He ended by calling for support for the archbishop and auxiliary bishop and encouraged the faithful to “keep the unity, joy, and enthusiasm of our faith”.
Speaking on behalf of the Antilles Episcopal Conference (AEC) in the absence of president Archbishop Patrick Pinder of Nassau, the Bahamas, Bishop Francis Alleyne of the diocese of Georgetown, Guyana, said the ordination was a “special moment for the local and regional Church”. He thanked Bishop Llanos for his “yes” to the call to serve as a bishop in spite of the “decay, death and devastation” in society.