Our blessed Lord in describing the growth and development of the kingdom of heaven tells us the well-known parable of the Mustard Seed - "The kingdom of heaven is like this, a man takes a mustard seed and sows it in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it grows up, it is the biggest of all plants. It becomes a tree, so that birds come and make their nests in its branches."
What a fitting description is this of the development of the Roman Catholic Church in the Cayman Islands! Some fifty years ago when Msgr. Gladstone Wilson, Chancellor of the Diocese of Kingston and Fr. Henry Martin, S.J., Secretary to Bishop John McEleney, S.J., visited the Cayman islands to explore the feasibility of establishing a Catholic Church there, little did they dream that fifty years later, the Church in the Cayman Islands would have grown and developed into the vibrant Catholic community it is today. Let us give thanks and praise to the Lord for His mercy and goodness.
First of all a great debt of gratitude is owed to a long line of Priests, Missionaries who planted the Faith in the Cayman Islands. We recall the labours and sacrifices of
His Grace, Most. Rev. The Hon. Samuel E. Carter, S.J., O.J., C.D.,
Archbishop Emeritus of Kingston
such men as Fr. William McHale, S.J., Fr. Harry Ball, S.J., Fr. Francis Jacmaugh, S.J. Fr. Henry Jurewich, S.J., Fr. Francis Sarjeant, S.J., Fr. Charles Judah, S.J.., Msgr. John Meaney and Msgr. Sewell. All these zealous workers of the Lord's vineyard, each in his own way contributed to the building up of the Church. Upon the firm foundation laid by these Missionaries, the present Pastor, Fr. Devon Nash has continued the work of nurturing the strong and flourishing faith community.
Grateful thanks must also be expressed to the Allegany Franciscan Sisters who journeyed to Cayman in the summer to instruct the children and prepare them for Sacraments.
In the field of education, the work of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, the "Blue Sisters" willalways be remembered in the annals of the history of Grand Cayman for their magnificent contribution over a period of many years to the intellectual, spiritual as well as moral and physical development of the children entrusted to their loving care. The little mustard seed grows.
How well do I remember some thirty years ago when as Archbishop of Kingston I paid my first visit to the Cayman Islands. At that time the little mustard seed was just beginning to sprout. It needed care and nurturing, so special thanks must be given to the people of the Archdiocese of Kingston for the generous support given to our sister Church in the Cayman Islands in those early years. Today we praise and thank the Catholic laity of the Cayman Islands who have always responded with generosity, a sense of stewardship and a wonderful spirit of co-operation to the guidance of their Pastors. A mature, well-instructed reliable laity is a sign of the growth of the Church.
With God's help may the Church in the Cayman Islands grow from strength to strength and go forward in faith.
This year with joy and thanksgiving Catholics throughout the world are celebrating the 2000th anniversary of the birth of Christ. This year likewise with joy and thanksgiving the people of Cayman Islands celebrate the Golden Jubilee, the 50th Anniversary of the Catholic Church in their midst, so it is my fervent prayer that God will continue to bless, guard and protect the little mustard planted 50 years ago.