Photo by Gerald V. Paul
By Gerald V. Paul
The first cardinal named from the English-speaking Caribbean – one of 19 who advise the Pope – Cardinal Kelvin Edward Felix graced Prince of Peace Roman Catholic Church Sunday, asking the congregation to embrace service and heart.
It was a message of strength to the congregation in which he shared his testimony, including his faith stories, those of the Bible and those of our everyday lives.
Felix shared the letter of his appointment; “Dear Brother, The Cardinalate does not signify a promotion, an honour or a decoration; it’s simply a service that demands a broader vision and a bigger heart…” Based at the Vatican, he continues in a dual role as a priest.
And as a continued act of service and love, an offering was collected to support the humanitarian relief efforts of Christians in Iraq. Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto, through the generosity of its parishes, is Canada’s largest private sponsor of refugees from the Middle East, with 820 people welcomed from the region over the past three years.
Dominican-born and a veteran St. Lucia-based priest, Felix told The Camera in a conversation that at age seven, he became an altar boy, serving until he was 17. Later, he was ordained by his mentor, who left his dying bed to perform the ceremony. Eventually, he became archbishop and after retirement, was called to be a cardinal, while continuing to minister as a priest in Rome.
Early in his life he earned several degrees via studies in Canada, England and the United States.
Felix, who served with the Caribbean Conference of Churches while based in Trinidad and Tobago, was part of the struggle to bring democracy and freedom to places such as Guyana as they were experiencing rigged elections and dictatorship for over two decades. He was known for his dedication to social justice.
Small wonder Felix felt blessed with regards to the first-ever Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Regional Inter-Faith Conference. Addressing the summit Change Drivers, he included service to man and God, sustained economic growth and development, the continual impact of the global fiscal and economic difficulties, crime and violence and the impact of climate change as a consequence of global warming,
He also focuses on economic inequality – the very rich, the so-called one percent – who are taking an increasing share of the economic recovery. Pope Frances has also addressed this issue.