CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (August 25, 2006)
Father George Agger Parish Priest of the Catholic Church in Nevis was visibly moved on Thursday as parishioners, fellow members of the Christian Counsel, Premier of Nevis the Honourable Joseph Parry and Mrs Parry and friends attended a Service of Thanksgiving in his honour at the St Theresa Catholic Church in Charlestown.
Parishioners said thank you to Father George as he is amicably known, days ahead of his departure from Nevis to take up a new appointment in Montserrat after nine years of service on the island.
Homilist for the special service, Most Reverend Bishop Donald Reece who is based in Antigua, challenged the church community and the Nevis Christian Council to remember Father George and his contributions to them.
Father George who was a member of the Nevis Christian Council, the Nevis Historical Society, the Nevis health Association, a Committee Member of the Flambouyant Nursing Home and Chaplin of the Charlestown Primary and the Bellevue Primary Schools, thanked all for the years of blessings given to him by the people and residents of Nevis and thanked God for the friendships he had shared.
“I arrived on Nevis on the 29th of August 1997 and by coincidence I leave Nevis on the 29th of August 2006. I would love to stay longer but after so many years here it is time to move on. I thank the Bishop for leaving me here three years longer than is normal and I enjoyed every single year and every single moment. There were times there were challenges of course but at the end of the day they were all very worthwhile
“Thank you all for being part of my life and for letting me be a part of your life. You have enriched my life you have empowered me you have encouraged me by your love by your presence by everything,” he said.
Father George also expressed his happiness with a surprise visit from his biggest fan “Helen” (a resident of the St Johns Senior Citizens Home in Gingerland) and a bag piper dressed in Irish traditional wear gave a rendition.
“What great surprise to have Helen here. I made a visit up to the St John’s Home on Tuesday to say goodbye and what a pleasant surprise it was for Helen to come down. Well what can I say I just don’t know what to say. All of this was a surprise”¦
What really touches my heart today is that there are so many people here”¦. I am glad you said all those nice things that I could hear them”¦I really appreciate all the nice things.
“What makes me so happy tonight is to see so many people from across so many divides: political divides, religious divide, the Nevis Christian Council… are here tonight. I think this is a marvellous dream of the Lord God himself that we are at our best when we do things like this and we work together when we come together. It makes God good it makes Jesus good and it makes me feel good and I hope it makes all of you feel good,” a beaming Father George said.
Premier Parry in brief remarks thanked Father George for his contribution to Nevis over the years on behalf of the people of Nevis and wished him well at his next post in Montserrat.
“What makes me feel so happy tonight is that everyone has spoken about you in the way I have seen you loving, helpful and a true Christian because we may do as many works as we wish to do but unless we have love in our hearts and unless we can reach out to our fellowmen I do not feel that we are Christians. It does not matter how hard you sing in church or how often you come to church you need to have that love in your heart.
“Father George I cannot say too much because I am not a Catholic and I have not had too many opportunities to meet you but these people [congregation] are a testimony to the works that you have done in Nevis,” Mr Parry said.
During a tribute to Father George Mrs Myer Parris thanked him for all he had done and noted there would not be a shortage of the good memories he would have left behind.
“We will remember you for being humorous, sympathetic and very, very, very generous. Your emphasis on forgiveness is immeasurable. The positive encouragement you placed on our youth to excel in their work be it at home, school, church or in the community”¦
“What makes me proud to be associated with you is the mere fact that you are not scornful the way you touch everyone you come in contact with there is no stone left unturned. You don’t discriminate against colour, creed, sickness or political affiliations just to name a few most of all we will remember you for being a great person to have around,” she said.
Before the end of the service which was also attended by Deputy Governor General Mr Eustace John and the Honourable Jean Harris and the Honourable Malcolm Guishard, ended Father George was showered with many more tributes and a number of gifts. The even ended with refreshments on the church grounds.