The Eucharist and the Poor - Bishop Malzaire launches new book

Catholic News Trinidad - 19th October  2014

On the eve of his 57th birthday and 12th anniversary of his Episcopal ordination, Bishop Gabriel Malzaire of Roseau launched his second book entitled, The Eucharist and the Poor.

Bishop Malzaire at the dinner and book launch. Photo Kassim Lewis
Book cover.

Among those present for the October 3 event were His Excellency Charles Savarin, President of the Commonwealth of Dominica; Prime Minister Roosevelt Skeritt; past Presidents Dr Nicholas Liverpool and Eliud Williams; Dorothy Mensah-Aggrey, an official from the Virtual Learning Community of Dayton University, Ohio, USA; members of the clergy, and men and women religious. The bishop’s compound had been transformed to accommodate the large number of guests who had responded to his invitation to the dinner and book launch.

After a few words of welcome by master of ceremonies Deacon Alvin Knight and the singing of the National Anthem, Vicar General Msgr Eustace Thomas offered the opening prayer and dinner was served. The book launch followed towards the end of the sumptuous meal.

Archbishop Joseph Harris of Port of Spain had been invited to be one of the speakers introducing the book to the public. However, due to air travel challenges and his obligation to be in his archdiocese the following day, he was unable to be present. Msgr William John-Lewis read a message sent by the archbishop. Quoting from the Talmud (Judaic text) as well as from Cuban poet Jose Marti, Archbishop Harris reminded the audience that it is said that every person should “plant a tree, have a child and write a book” by way of securing some measure of immortality. In his words, Bishop Malzaire had planted many trees, had had many spiritual children, and now with the launching of his second book was ensuring a certain immortality.

He said the book not only invited the reader to reflect on the Eucharist as a sacrament - where Jesus’ self-emptying exemplifies his own poverty and thus is reflective of his identification with the poor - but into the mind and heart of the author and his own love of the poor.

Mensah-Aggrey began her sharing by making the connection between her native Ghana and Dominica. Many years ago, Bishop Joseph Bowers SVD, a native of Dominica, had been sent to Ghana as a missionary where he subsequently became the first black bishop of the Diocese of Accra.  She went on to speak of the importance of the book as a further contribution to the numerous volumes that have been previously written about the Eucharist and about the poor. This book, a condensed and edited version of the doctoral dissertation of the bishop, would be another document highlighting the social dimension of the Eucharist.

Fr Clement Vadakkedath CSsR was the last to offer a reflection. He began saying that when he learned of the book’s title, he wondered if anything new could be written on the subject. After reading the manuscript, he was impressed by the content and the approach that the author had taken in showing the indisputable relationship between the mystery of the Eucharist, and the practical application as it relates to the body of Christ expressed especially in the poorest of the poor.

The final speaker was the author himself, Bishop Malzaire. He offered his personal thanks to all who attended the dinner and book launch; the Cathedral Renovation Committee who organised the event; and those who facilitated the realisation of his new book. The bishop’s first book was titled A Decade of Graceand released October 2012. Proceeds from the sales of The Eucharist and the Poorwill go toward the renovation works of the Cathedral, and the work of the St Vincent de Paul Society who attend to the needs of the poor. - Msgr William John-Lewis, director of the Diocesan Pastoral Centre