Bequia's St. Michael's and Father Gerry Farfan
The Parish Priest at St Michael's in Bequia is Father Gerry Farfan, a Trinidadian by birth, who belongs to the missionary religious congregation known as the Holy Ghost Fathers. For close on 30 years Father Gerry was a science teacher at two of the leading secondary schools in Trinidad, viz., Fatima College and St Mary's College.
This is what Fr Gerry has to say about
his present appointment to Bequia:
"The yachts come and go, flying flags of all the nations, from Japan to South Africa, from Europe to Argentina. The North American yachts bear registrations from Miami to Vancouver, from New Brunswick to California. I sit on my verandah (or lie in the hammock) and watch the world come and go in our Bay."
"Of course I also work at being the Parish Priest (smile), which involves regular trips (9 miles, 1 hour by leisurely ferry) to St Vincent on business of one kind or another, and to the neighbouring (8 miles, 35 minutes by fussy powerboat) island of Mustique - the other half of my parish. During these commutes I always empathize with my unfortunate counterparts in metropolitan countries who do their commuting in dark, dismal, dreadful underground tunnels with brick walls and garish advertisements for their viewing pleasure, while I have the beautiful blue Caribbean sea with its white caps, flying fish, cavorting dolphins, and the occasional whale. I for one will not exchange."
"The number of Catholics is small: about 400 or so out of a population of 5000. But we have just had to extend the little Church to increase its accommodation by 50%, bringing its capacity up to approx. 120 persons! It too is very attractive, and has a great view of the Bay, maybe sometimes a distraction as I celebrate Mass, facing the front door through which the bay below is clearly visible."
"Of course one pays the price for the idyllic life in the general laissez-faire attitude of the local populace, and the frustrations that brings. But if you don't want first-world type frustrations, Bequia is not the place for you! In this regard Bequia resolutely calls for a sturdy disposition."
"The whole scenario is wonderful, and each morning as I wake to the sound of the grackles telling, nay! insisting, in their shrill voices to all who listen with more than just their ears, that 'Bequia sweet, sweet!', I thank God with very sincere heart for the beauty of the world he has given us and placed in our care."
"It is truly a far cry from teaching Biology in the concrete classrooms of Fatima and St Mary's."
Now for the commercial !
Our little community specially enjoys having visitors share with us in our lively Caribbean Mass at 8:30 AM on Sundays. The visitors frequently take time out after Mass to tell me how much they enjoyed the singing, the rhythm, the obvious hospitality of the parishioners. Sometimes they even say they enjoyed the homily - but maybe they had been carried away by the happiness of the celebration. For that is truly what our Sunday Mass is - a happy celebration.
"During the week I am frequently away in St Vincent, but when I am here (You can tell when that is by the angelus bell at 6:30 AM) Mass is at 7:00 AM."
Thanks again. Be seeing you soon.
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