Catholic News, Trinidad, Sunday January 24, 2016
The Church in Guyana has begun preparations for the celebration of three important jubilees: Guyana’s 50th anniversary of Independence, the 60th year of the establishment of the Diocese of Georgetown, and the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis.
For the Jubilee Year of Mercy, the Bishop’s Office, in association with the diocese’s Stewardship Commission and the Justice and Peace Commission, will be spearheading the Bishop’s Annual Appeal 2016 under the theme, “Merciful like the Father”. Various materials are being produced for the formal launch on Ash Wednesday (Feb. 10). Last December, the Jubilee Year was launched with the symbolic opening of the Holy Door of Mercy at the Brickdam Cathedral. Activities to mark this year will take place at the parish level.
The anniversary of the establishment of the Diocese of Georgetown marks the occasion when Pope Pius XII raised the Vicariate of British Guyana to the rank of Diocese. Before this event, British Guiana was under the immediate jurisdiction of the Pope for whom the Apostolic Vicar, who at that time was Bishop Lester Guilly, exercised jurisdiction on behalf of the Holy Father.
With the establishment of the diocese, the Bishop governed in his own name as the immediate pastor of the Church. The name of the diocese was taken from the location of the mother Church, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, in Georgetown, but the area of the new diocese extended to the whole of the then British Guiana.
There are plans to draw attention to the transition of the Church in Guyana as it existed before 1956 and its elevation to the status of a diocese. This will be done through the use of archival material and other sources.
With regard to the Catholic Church’s involvement in Guyana’s golden anniversary of Independence on May 26, Bishop Francis Alleyne told the Catholic Standard that he had not as yet heard from the organising committee.
He said that committee last communicated with the Church with regard to marking the start of the New Year, such as the ringing of church bells and public prayers for the nation. However, even if there is no further communication from this committee, Bishop Alleyne said the local Church will give its input from a faith perspective.
He noted that many of the institutions built by the Catholic Church have contributed significantly to the development of Guyana over the past 50 years, particularly in the areas of education, health and social work. It will not be an occasion for the Church to blow its trumpet, Bishop Alleyne explained, but will be referenced in the context of the beginning of the next 50 years. – Adapted from Catholic Standard