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Bishop Neville deSouza: a leader in social justice

Published:Wednesday | December 23, 2015 | 12:00 AM


This is an open letter to the Rt Rev Dr Howard Gregory, Bishop of Jamaica.

That very special feeling of irreparable loss on the passing of the Honourable Bishop Neville deSouza extends well beyond his immediate family and of the Anglican Church. It is certainly shared by virtue of his distinguished service throughout the region and internationally in Cuba, the Caribbean and those who belong to the World Council of Churches.

The Anglican Diocese of Jamaica and Grand Cayman, Jamaica and the entire Caribbean have been deprived of the humanitarian offerings, the unique teaching of the gospel and the philanthropic gestures, which freely flowed from him in his quest for freedom in an egalitarian society.

He was a proud son of Trelawny who never forgot his roots.

Even before his consecration as first Suffragan Bishop of Montego Bay, Neville deSouza had already left an indelible mark on every Cure he served. His pastoral outreach was never confined to the immediate congregation, but was spread to the wider community and with particular attention to the poor, the elderly and the young.

Bishop deSouza's mission made him a pioneer in his service to the Diocese - first Suffragan Bishop of Montego Bay; first Diocesan Bishop to be conferred with the Order of Jamaica; and the first to perform the ordination of women as priests. He was a leader in ecumenism, nationally and worldwide.

His long sojourn at the pinnacle of the Anglican Church in Jamaica coincided with a period of ferment and social change. He did not flinch from throwing his tremendous intellect and influence of that high office on the side of those marginalised. He did not conceal his belief in social justice and espoused the hope of a people to be uplifted from the legacy of slavery and colonial domination.

The Rt Rev Neville Wordsworth deSouza has now finished his race and has been called to higher service. We pray the penetrative, instructive sermons of this fearless and formidable theologian will be preserved and published to inspire all those who seek to serve the Almighty and his people on earth.

I share with the Anglican Church and the people of faith in our country this irreparable loss and extend my sincere condolences.


Former Prime Minister