I sent the following letter to the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saint George’s in Grenada, Clyde Harvey, on Thursday, 19 March 2020 and I have not received a response thus far.
Then, just 3 days later, on Sunday, 22 March, Grenadians received the shocking news that we had registered our first case of Covid-19 in Grenada.
I have taken this next step of publicly posting my letter for the following 3 reasons:
- There has been no response or noted action by the Bishop on this grave matter. A related excerpt from the Bishop’s statement on Covid-19, dated 3 March 2020, is as follows: “Until further notice, communion should be given in the hand. The countries where the virus is already active, if they have not stopped mass altogether, have determined this to be the safest way. Communion on the tongue and by intinction is therefore suspended. The sharing of the cup is also suspended, except in very small groups.”
(Note well, the highlighting and bold type is exactly as written in the Bishop’s Statement signifying importance and urgency.)
- It is this type of nonchalance by leaders (in this case a spiritual leader) that resulted in Italy’s Covid-19 recorded infections and death toll reaching more than 53,000 and more than 4,800, respectively (as at 22 March 2020). I urge everyone to take the time to read this well-written article titled ‘Italy, Pandemic’s New Epicentre, Has Lessons for the World’ from The New York Times.
- Grenadians need to wake up and proactively educate and protect themselves because the coronavirus is no respecter of persons or positions nor is “God a Grenadian” (the infamous statement by Grenadians before Hurricane Ivan hit us quite unprepared in 2004). If you have been following the news, religious leaders and political leaders are among the Covid-19 victims worldwide, as well. So, we the ordinary citizens need to educate ourselves and protect ourselves even if we have failings, such as is being shown here, by our spiritual leaders.
To educate yourself and stay abreast of what’s happening with Covid-19, you can visit the following local and international websites:
Covid-19 complaint – Blessed Sacrament Church at Grand Anse
Dear Bishop Harvey:
Firstly, I want to commend you for your responsible and timely leadership during this pandemic that resulted in the issuance of a message to ALL parishes about precautions that should be taken at each church in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Secondly, I would like to express my grave disappointment and anger with the irresponsible behaviour of the parish priest at the Blessed Sacrament Church in Grand Anse. I went to midday Mass today, Thursday, 19 March 2020 at that church and the priest administered the Holy Eucharist to a foreign woman on her tongue. His irresponsible behaviour meant that, since she was the first person to receive Holy Communion, everyone else who, thereafter, received Holy Communion in their hands was put at potential risk.
I met with the parish priest after Mass and reminded him that he is not supposed to be administering Holy Communion to persons on their tongue, as per the Bishop’s precautionary measures. He justified it by indicating to me that he cannot refuse someone communion if they do not want to take it in their hand. YES, HE CAN! The individual want is definitely not superior to the communal need for safety at this critical time.
It is irresponsible and selfish behaviours as displayed by this foreign woman and the parish priest, which will eventually lead to the spread of Covid-19 in Grenada. Everyone, including your irresponsible parish priest at Grand Anse, must be reminded to follow the mandates of the Bishop which are issued for the well-being of all.