We continue today the 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.
|FLASHBACK: Fr Steve Duncan waves to parishioners at the recent Tobago Vicariate Family Day.|
THE TOBAGO VICARIATE
“In Tobago, we’ve always waited for a priest to come from somewhere – from Ireland, from England, even from Trinidad – but this time our priest is one of our very own! We thank God for that. We needed that!”
These were the words of Ingrid Melville from Scarborough in the Tobago Vicariate. In Ingrid’s words, “We now see from Fr Steve’s example that a priest can come from our own families, our own community.”
Ingrid shared that she grew up with Fr Steve Duncan. They were both from Delaford and she says the Tobagonians of both the Sacred Heart parish at Delaford and the St Joseph parish at Scarborough can now say they know the priest – they know his family, they know his cousins, they feel he is their very own. Ingrid and Fr Steve went to the same school and attended the same church and she has always known him to be humble. This, she says, has gone a long way with the Catholic communities across Tobago, for Fr Steve has tried to unite the two parishes and with tremendous success.
Ingrid shared that Fr Steve has planned and, with the people’s help, executed activities to bring the two parishes together and to build unity between the two. There was a Family Day at Castara recently and she says everyone was there – people from Goodwood, Mt St George, Patience Hill, Mason Hall, etc. She said it was a rainy day and Tobagonians would normally have stayed at home but this time they were inspired to attend.
There is a lime with Fr Steve one Friday every month and it is open to the youth and especially young men. They get to socialise with a priest in a relaxed atmosphere.
A concert is being planned for Goodwood, which is a halfway point between Scarborough and Delaford, and there is full participation in the current preparations. Also on the drawing board is “Meet the Parish Priest” – a journey from community to community beginning at Scarborough and ending at Delaford. This way, parishioners will get to meet with Fr Steve in a more intimate setting.
A Vicariate choir is being organised and rehearsals have started. Ingrid said there was much interest and excitement at the rehearsals.
She added that their journey with Fr Steve has caused the people of the Tobago Vicariate to look forward to their own sons taking up the vocation of priesthood. She says, “The presence of Fr Steve himself makes vocations closer to us.”
In the schools of the Vicariate – Scarborough RC and Delaford RC, there is a move to form a Tobago Board for Catholic Education and it is hoped that this would help promote priestly vocations. The priesthood has not been represented at recent career days at the schools.
Ingrid said someone once told Fr Steve, “You will either be a priest or a politician.”
She and the Tobago Vicariate are happy God called him to be a priest!
Happy ninth anniversary Fr. Steve.
Happy ninth anniversary Fr. Steve.
– Natasha Lamy-Ramsden