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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Priest Who Opens Mind





We continue our series of articles celebrating the anniversaries of the first graduates of the Seminary – Msgr Urban Peschier, Fr Fred Patience and Bishop John Mendes, as well as the 70th anniversary of the opening of the Seminary. The Diocesan Fathers invite readers to journey with parishioners from each of the vicariates as they reflect on the ministry of six parish priests. Borrowing the theme from the celebration – COME CELEBRATE, JOIN US IN SERVICE, it is hoped that the series will help stimulate volunteers for Vocations Committees in parishes to creatively foster a vocations culture: a culture of “yes” to service in general and priesthood in particular.


THE EASTERN VICARIATE

The community of Salybia is within the parish of Toco/Matelot and, according to lay minister Sharine Gerald, it comprises 14 people. There is her family of six, a grandmother and granddaughter, a family of three, a mother and daughter, and a single lady. But small as it is, this community is bubbling with excitement about its parish and parish priest, Fr Steve Ransome.
Fr Steve Ransome
Fr Steve Ransome
Fr Ransome celebrates Mass every second and fourth Sunday at Playa del Este on the Salybia Main Road and, on the other Sundays, Sharine leads a Eucharistic Service. She is bowled over by Fr Ransome’s open-mindedness and approach to vocation on the whole. She says he has opened the minds of the parishioners to see vocation as a call to holiness in every aspect of life and profession. “He doesn’t let us feel as if vocation is for older persons or for over-religious persons but that vocation is a part of life,” she explained.
Sharine said when Fr Ransome is approached, he gives a sense of comfort. He has been encouraging older men to be lectors and to be visibly involved in the life of the Church and that has brought out a positive response from the young men of the parish. She noted that prior to Fr Ransome’s arrival, her two brothers did not regularly attend Mass but now they want to come to church all the time, so much so that when they miss Mass they are close to tears.
Sharine explained that parishioners have found a good example in the way Fr Ransome lives his life as a priest. She said he shares his leadership and that is a part of his approach that has had a great impact on the parish. He doesn’t want to do everything himself but has opened up the leadership to parishioners, allowing them to come into their own. He tends not to micro-manage and is open-minded.
Sharine was asked how Fr Ransome’s presence has encouraged her call to service as a lay minister. She shared that he is a listener and pays attention and that has helped her advance.
I asked Sharine what she wished for Fr Ransome and she said she had a general wish for all priests. She wants them to be guided by the Holy Spirit and to seek always to do God’s work. She wishes that nothing external or opposed to God will pull them away from what God wants them to do.
Speaking specifically about Fr Ransome, she says she would like his dreams for the development of the youth of the parish to come to fruition. She adds that she knows his aim is to see a vibrant parish, not just a charismatic parish but one interwoven with the togetherness that comes from being truly alive!
– Natasha Lamy-Ramsde

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