10 things you didn't know about the Most Rev Charles Dufour

Published: Sunday | December 9, 2012 Comments 0
Rev Charles Dufour
Rev Charles Dufour

We have heard him deliver countless sermons across the length and breadth of Jamaica and he has rubbed shoulders with many dignitaries - prime ministers, presidents and kings at home and abroad. However, we dare many persons might not have known these tiny but interesting facts about the Most Rev Charles H. Dufour, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kingston - one who is often described by many in the religious circles as God's humble servant. With that said, allow us to officially give you a sneak peek into the lighter side of his life.

1. Archbishop Charles, as he is affectionately called, was born in Kingston to Jamaican Mavis and Charles Dufour Sr, a Frenchman who hailed from Lyons in France and came to Jamaica during the era of World War II. It was during that period that Charles Sr, who had travelled extensively, visited Jamaica. He had all intentions of returning to France, but having met a young and charming Mavis, he scrapped his plans and never returned to his homeland. He died in 1968 while Charles Jr was studying for the priesthood in Lancashire, England.

2. Charles Jr grew up in the east Kingston community of Rollington Town. He received his early education at Holy Rosary Preparatory School in east Kingston and later attended the St Mary's College in Above Rocks, St Catherine. He did his priestly studies at the St Michael's Seminary, Kingston (now St Michael's Theological College), before moving on to Upholland College in Lancashire, England, for further studies. Charles Jr became the first graduate of St Michael's to later become its principal. That tenure lasted from 1982-1992.

3. August 12, 2012 signalled 42 years since Archbishop Charles has been serving in the catholic priesthood. On February 10, 1996, he became the second Roman Catholic bishop of Montego Bay and served in that office until June 2011 when he was installed as the sixth archbishop of Kingston where he is currently serving.

During his 15-year tenure in Montego Bay, he was the first chairman of the Peace Management Initiative for four years, and established the Good Shepherd Foundation - a non-denominational and non-profit organisation.

4. As a priest and bishop, he travelled extensively preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, but one of the places that stand out in his memory was a visit to Ghana in July 1997 where he ordained several priests and had the opportunity to meet the king of the Ashanti tribe, who kissed his (Charles') hand as a mark of welcome and respect.

5. Has had a long-standing working relationship with the youths for many years. He says he enjoys mountain climbing and has climbed the Blue Mountain Peak numerous times.

6. Among the dignitaries he received are the prime minister of Canada, Jean Chretien; Cuban President Fidel Castro, King Juan Carlos of Spain and his wife, Queen Sofia.

Archbishop Charles is compassionate about helping those incarcerated and has ministered at Fort Augusta Prison, General Penitentiary and the South Camp Road Adult Correctional Centre.

7. He is the founding chairman of the Donald Quarrie High School, located in Harbour View, St Andrew. He's the current chairman of the Police Civilian Oversight Authority - an appointment renewed by Governor General Sir Patrick Allen. He has also served on the Parliamentary Salaries Commission.

8. At age 72, he works out at the gym regularly to keep fit.

9. Archbishop Charles had dabbled in music during high school and so when the day is over, he relaxes by listening to music - classical. He in love with Beethoven, primarily because when he became deaf while still in his 20s, he refused to give up and wrote some beautiful pieces, such as symphonies 2, 3 and 4, and that have inspired him.

10. He loves Bob Marley's music, has been listening to the late reggae icon for years, has been inspired by his music and has a collection of his work. His favourite track is Redemption Song, "as it encourages us to rid our minds of mental slavery." I like music of all types - Greek, Russian, American, African drumming and others."

- Chester Francis-Jackson

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