Farewell Service for Father Latus
Photo By Erasmus Williams
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
May 03, 2012 (CUOPM)
Parishioners of the Immaculate Conception Co-Cathedral showered gifts, praise and thanks to Polish-born priest, Father Bernard Latus last Sunday for his outstanding leadership over the past 8 years of service.
Parishioners at the conclusion of the Children’s Mass, spoke glowingly of Father Latus’ service to the Parish and the legacy that he has left behind.
Chairman of the Parish Council, Mr. Vincent De Fraites, recalled that Father Larry Finigan in the farewell message had described his replacement (Fr. Latus) as “an energetic and hard working priest.”
“Fr. Bernard, we are very blessed and proud to have had you as our Parish Priest for almost nine years. You have used your God given talents wisely to shepherd us. We admire you for your vision, your creativity, intelligence, compassion, commitment, boldness, GREAT organizational skills and your extraordinary energetic spirit,” said Mr. De Fraites.
He told Father Latus that is service has had an impact in all areas of the Parish Life ““ Church, School and Presbytery.
“You will be surely missed not only by the Catholic congregation, but by the St. Kitts and Nevis Christian Council, the Evangelical Association, the St. Christopher Outreach Center, WINN-FM and many other organizations with which you have worked,” said De Fraites.
Making a presentation on behalf of the ICC Youth Choir, Director Charmaine Donovan, supported by her deputy Jessica Beaupierre in making a presentation said: “Father Bernard, our choir has been enriched as a result of the untiring support you gave us through the years. You recognised our combined potential even when it was a mere mustard seed. You gave us soil in which to be planted, in the form of instruments/equipment, and watered us with encouraging words. We bloomed where we were planted and now you leave us to nurture another seed somewhere else. Go with God and our utmost respect and deepest appreciation. Thank you from the depths of our heart; you will certainly be missed.”
Tally Francis, speaking on behalf of the Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist said: “Fr. Bernard, we have known a Secret Key which never fails to open the Gates of Divine Mercy, and a River which will carry us into the Promised Land. This River is the EUCHARIST.
We take this opportunity to thank you for all that you have done for us and the Knowledge which you have given us. We will never say “Goodbye” but as you leave us, please take with you our Prayers, Love and very Best Wishes. You will always be in our Hearts,” said Mr. Francis.
“Father Bernard always went above and beyond the call of duty when it came to the altar servers, he always welcomed us into his home and especially into his kitchen. We will truly miss him,” said Kheera Venner on behalf the Altar Servers.
The Prayer Group described Father Latus as a “Gift.”
“Father Bernard has been to our Church Community. We have been truly blessed to have had such a multi-talented Pastor: The enthusiasm, energy, creativity and courage of Fr. Bernard are truly amazing, and God is indeed Glorified with the transformation around us. We like to add our love, prayers, and gratitude to Father Bernard and wish him God’s Richest Blessings on his Sabbatical and New Appointment,” it said.
The Floral Committee expressed its deep appreciation and gratitude to Fr. Bernard for his creative, hardworking, loving and caring spirit.
“You will be greatly missed. The Floral Arrangers have been touched by Father’s love for beauty and perfection, and for his time and energy spent in trying to keep the Flower Room in top shape. The Committee wishes Fr. Bernard God’s abundant Blessings and Best Wishes on his Sabbatical and his New Assignment,” said the representative.
“Enclosed please find a small token of our appreciation to you for your unstinting service to the Church of the Immaculate Conception Co-Cathedral, Basseterre. Thank you for your dedication, devotion and perseverance in preaching to us the Word of God, for enlightening us and giving us an insight of the historical context of some of the passages of scripture. We were inspired and challenged by your tenacity and courage in spreading the word of God in areas where you felt that there was a great need, and in reaching out to those who are troubled especially in the communities of Conaree, New Town, Irish Town and Mc Knight,” said the group.
“As you leave on your Sabbatical, I hope that you can take inspiration from the 14th verse of Psalm 25. The Lord is the friend of those who obey him and He affirms His covenant with them. May God Bless you, guide and continue to inspire you, and may you be successful in all that you do. We love you and will always remember you with great pride,” said the group.
Since his appointment to St. Kitts in 2003, parishioners are crediting Fr. Bernard’s stewardship with the reconstruction of the Presbytery and the Immaculate Conception Catholic School, the establishment of the Youth Choir, the restoration of the bells of the co-cathedral, the Corpus Christi service in Independence Square during which special prayers are said for the protection of St. Kitts and Nevis during the Hurricane Season, the Children’s Mass every fifth Sunday of a month, the revival of the visits to Catholic sick and shut-in of the church as well as the way side services in the hotspots such as New Town, Conaree and West Basseterre.
Father Latus served in Nevis from 1988 to 1989; Antigua from 1989 – 1993; the Dominican Republic from 1993 – 1994; Jamaica from 1994 to 2001; 2001 – 2003 in Israel and Chicago at the CTU – Bible Study leave and in St. Kitts from 2003 to 2012.