Thursday , December 7 2023

Flash visit of clergy of diocese of Willemstad

The Daily Herald reports that Roman Catholic parishioners led by resident Father Danilo Pastor welcomed Bishop Luis Antonio Secco together with the entire clergy of the Diocese of Willemstad on their flash visit to Saba Wednesday afternoon. The priests from the six Dutch Caribbean islands arrived on Saba at noontime on a speedboat provided by the Island Government of St. Eustatius. They are meeting this week on Statia on the Pastoral Plan.

After being greeted by parishioners at Fort Bay harbour, a motorcade took the members of the clergy to the community centre on the grounds of Holy Rosary Church in Zion’s Hill. There parishioners treated the priests to a copious meal accompanied by the tunes of local traditional music band The Occasionals.

Much of the planned island tour was cut short. The group headed to Sacred Heart Church in The Bottom where the sisters of the Living Water Community organized an event with Roman Catholic youth. Bishop Secco and several priests engaged the youth in an informal conversation about their identity, interests and faith. The priests shared stories about their calling to serve the church, but also about the spiritual companionship in their formative years. Later that afternoon the clergy led a special mass attended by many Sabans. Bishop Secco officiated mass seconded by Father Pastor and Father Simon Wilson, a Saban who lives on Curaçao. The bishop thanked the parishioners for their hospitality. While acknowledging the hours spent together on Saba were few, he said they were intense as the natural beauty of the island is complemented by the spiritual beauty of its people.

Father Wilson, brother of Acting Lt. Governor Franklin Wilson, spoke of the entire diocese clergy roughing it on the boat only to visit his native Saba. While he spoke appreciatively of the hospitality shown on Saba, he also noted that the Diocesan gathering on Statia was an expensive conference and expressed hope that Saba would in the future step up its contributions and host such a gathering. He called on parishioners to organize fundraisers well in advance.

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