His Lordship Gabriel Malzaire, Bishop of the Diocese of Roseau has called on the Catholic faithful to undertake a reality check on the status of vocations in the Diocese.
Bishop Malzaire was at the time delivering his homily at the annual Chrism Mass, at the Church of Our Lady of Fatima in Newtown on Wednesday 28 March 2018.
According to the Bishop, the number of candidates applying to the priesthood in the last 20-30 years has dwindled to the extent that presently, there are only two candidates at the diocesan level presently undergoing training and formation at the regional seminary; one of Haitian origin and the other a Dominican national.
He reflected on the time when there were nine priests attached to the Cathedral Parish; today, there is only one ordained minister at the Cathedral. He called on the faithful to pray for vocations as the current situation deprives many parishes of consecrated ministers. Bishop Malzaire spoke of an experience where he met a Spanish lady who boasted about her nine sons all having answered the call to serve in the priesthood and added that she did not disclose any indication of regret in this regard.
Thankfully, he announced that the church in Dominica has benefitted from the generosity of the church in Africa and India. A number of priests from these two regions of the world have been assigned to assist the church here in Dominica.
He asked the question’ “Are we as a people of God, thankful for God’s many gifts to us?” He urged parishioners to develop a sense of mission, and an appreciation for the role of vocations. He emphasized the need to inculcate the virtues of stewardship and ownership of the church’s work.
This he said is the responsibility for both priest and laity.
In this Holy week, he stressed on the reason for the observance. It is he said, a celebration of the gift of giving. God gave his son over to mankind to die on the cross for the salvation of all people. He asked that we do not suppress the spirit.
In speaking directly to the priests gathered there, he asked that they strive on a daily basis to live out their vocation mindful of the characteristics of humility and generosity. He asked that they support each other with a love of God and his church.
Finally, he admonished the faithful to pray for their priests and do not hesitate to speak to and even caution their priests when it is deemed right to do. In so doing we might save a priest and a vocation.
In the spirit of Easter he ended with the quotation, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give”.