Wed | Sep 20, 2017

deSouza was a great father - Late bishop hailed as spiritual and family leader

Published:Wednesday | December 30, 2015 | 12:00 AM
The bishops of the Church in the Province of the West Indies’ pall-bearers exiting the church after the Mass of Resurrection for the late Rt Rev Dr Neville Wordsworth deSouza at St Andrew Parish Church in Half-Way Tree yesterday.

The Right Reverend Dr Neville Wordsworth deSouza, former Bishop of the Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, was yesterday laid to rest at the St Andrew Parish Church.

It was his daughter, Erica, who memorialised him as a great spiritual and family leader.

Her tribute highlighted the public and private aspects of deSouza's life and also shed light on his influence as a leader of the church.

"He was a man of many words and a proficient communicator. In public, he was known for his lengthy conversations, as he lived up to his middle name, Wordsworth, because he was a man who was worthy of his words," she said.

Privately, however, the bishop was a more reserved character.

"In private, he was a very quiet person, who spent much of his time reading art, history, music and studying spiritual matters. He would go into solitude to consider and reflect on various issues."

deSouza, who was accorded an official funeral, served as the 12th Bishop of Jamaica, and it was through this office that he influenced the life of the church and the nation at large.

 

GUIDING NATIONAL DEBATE

 

The Reverend Howard Gregory, the current Bishop of Jamaica, said deSouza was instrumental in guiding national debate on challenges that faced the country. He noted that deSouza assumed the leadership of the Diocese at a time of social upheaval within Jamaica.

"His was a fearless voice who challenged those responsible for governance, as well as leaders in every sphere of our national life, regarding the ordering of the life of the society in a way that ensured social justice for all," Gregory said.

deSouza was ordained a deacon in 1958 and a priest in 1959. He was consecrated Suffragan Bishop of Montego Bay in 1973, and enthroned as Bishop of Jamaica in 1979.

andre.poyser@gleanerjm.com