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May 15, 2017

Roman Catholic Church Installs New Bishop Larry Nicasio

Saturday morning was a day of celebration for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Belize City-Belmopan.  It formally welcomed its third native Bishop, Lawrence Sydney Nicasio of Dangriga, in an elaborate three-and-a-half-hour ceremony, featuring the convergence of many cultures.  A coterie of bishops from across the Caribbean congregated to formally make Nicasio, who succeeds Monsignor Dorrick Wright, one of their own.  And the new Bishop can count on the goodwill of the sizable audience gathered into S.J.C. Gymnasium and the many others who followed on television and online. News Five’s Aaron Humes attended and has the following report.

 

Aaron Humes, Reporting

The Roman Catholic Church is not one to skimp on ceremony, so for the arrival of a new spiritual leader, they pulled out all the stops. The faithful from across Belize, especially a large Dangriga contingent, packed St. John’s College Gymnasium to the rafters to welcome new Bishop Lawrence Sydney Nicasio. The ceremony itself featured praise and worship in no less than four different languages – English, Spanish, Garifuna and Latin – and contributions from all cultures. Bishop Nicasio was paraded into the congregation, blessed with the Gospels and laying on of hands, and charged to lead, to ask this multi-faceted Church congregation to come together.

 

Lawrence Nicasio

Lawrence Nicasio, Bishop, Roman Catholic Church

“As Bishop, it’s a tough job; but the Church is alive when you give life to this Church, and so I cannot do it alone; and so if we are going to be a Church that is alive, you must do your part.”

 

Bishop Nicasio’s first words – in keeping with his motto taken from the book of Micah, which speaks of walking humbly with God – was to give thanks that his day had finally come, after breaking out in song.

 

Lawrence Nicasio

“The Lord God has brought us together to be a part of this celebration this morning. It’s been a time waiting – since December I was notified and this is May, but good things come for those who wait, and so it has happened. I would like to offer thanks to our God, especially on this day, as we celebrate Our Lady of Fatima – her feast day today – and we are grateful to her as well. I want to give thanks to the Holy Father who was able to sign off on that appointment and selecting me to be the Bishop of this diocese. I want to give thanks to Bishop Wright and Bishop Glancy for working along with me; they did a lot of work in the preparation, everything, a lot of things, was new to me, and they helped out very much.”

 

The centrepiece of the Bishop’s new coat of arms, surrounding the Christian cross and the symbols for the Greek letters alpha and omega, features a common Garifuna implement: the ruguma. It’s the special knitted straw strainer used to draw out the poison from the grated cassava – aided by human power – in order to make cassava bread. Auxiliary Bishop, Christopher Glancy, explains why our separate cultures can be a source of unity against evil.

 

Christopher Glancy

Christopher Glancy, Auxiliary Bishop, Roman Catholic Church

“You know, today, we need something to squeeze the poison of our society; we need something to squeeze out the violence, the anger. (Applause) And certainly, Mary teaches us in prayer, in the Rosary, that’s one thing; but in those cultural traditions as well – in the traditions of the Garifuna people, in the traditions of the Maya, the Kriol, the Mestizo, are all round our country – ways that bring us together, across generations, and help us to squeeze that poison out of our society. So newly-elected Bishop Lawrence Nicasio: lead us; guide us; show us how to use the ruguma, just as Jesus said: Remain in my love, that my love might be in you and your love might be complete; that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete. This is my command; love one another, as I have loved you. So show us how to integrate the daily prayer of the Rosary, as Mary instructed us at Fatima; teach us how to live the Garifuna greeting: darangila, luma, esieni – peace and love.  Paz y amor.”

 

Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.

 

Bishop Nicasio was consecrated by the Papal Nuncio, Leon Kalenga; the Archbishop of Nassau, Bahamas, Patrick Pinder; and Auxiliary Bishop of New Orleans, Fernand Cheri, under the management of Archbishop emeritus of Castries, Cardinal Kelvin Felix.  The Government of Belize was represented by Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber, while Leader of the Opposition John Briceño represented his party.  Bishop Phillip Wright of the Anglican Church was also present.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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