My Sisters and Brothers,
As we all know, sickness eventually affects everyone. On August 30 I had a severe gall bladder attack from which I never fully recovered. I was nauseous and weak with a consequent weight loss that lasted for the next four months. My condition affected my ability to serve the Archdiocese in ministry. It became clear that my gall bladder was not my only medical problem. Eventually, my doctor here in Trinidad sent me to the USA for treatment. The medical problem was definitively identified in New York and two surgeries were scheduled immediately at the New York University Medical School Hospital. Thank God both surgeries were successful.
The surgeries and the immediate recovery process took so much time that I reached the retirement age of 75 while I was out of the Archdiocese. Consequently, I missed the closure events that were planned for December including the installation of my successor, Archbishop Joseph Harris. Since I am still recovering from surgery and I tire quickly, I asked my successor that nothing special be scheduled now due to my health. I informed him that my wonderful memories of the Archdiocese would be my celebration. I assured him I would make every effort to return to the Archdiocese when the restoration of the Cathedral was completed.
The closure events would have provided me with the opportunity to thank the people of the Archdiocese for their collaboration over the last ten years. While history will judge the effectiveness of what was done during my ministry as Archbishop, the response of the people to the invitation to become involved in the process of building the future of the Archdiocese is a memory to be cherished forever and one that should always be a source of hope.
I want to thank my principal collaborators: the priests and permanent deacons, the members of religious communities, those who belong to the associations of Christ’s faithful, the men and women who served as department heads and the chancery staff which provided professional service to all who asked for assistance.
I am especially grateful to all the people (the majority of the Archdiocese) who serve the Lord and build the Church through family life, the parish system, the school system and in specialised ministries.
I assure everyone of my ongoing prayer that God’s plan for the Archdiocese and the Nation will be eventually fulfilled and that a spirit of justice, love and peace will grow in Trinidad and Tobago.
Most Reverend Edward J. Gilbert CSsR
Archdiocese of Port of Spain
Come back and visit us your grace (#9). You'll still be Archbishop (in our hearts)in this archdiocese. We thanks you for your service. God Bless you!