PROPOSED TRANSFER OF FR. IAN TAYLOR PARISH PRIEST
Your Grace Reverend Jason Gordon
Archbishop of Port of Spain
Archbishop House, Maraval Road, POS
We greet you in the Wonderful Name of Jesus!
We the parishioners and friends of the St Charles Borromeo Parish recently learnt of the proposed transfer of our dear Fr. Ian Taylor from our Parish to the New Grant RC Church. We are extremely disturbed by this news especially as we are unaware of what would have triggered such an unexpected and pre-mature decision, given the regular tenure of a priest to a parish being normally 6 years, and equally important for a proposal such as this to be made within this period of lockdown due to the global pandemic. Therefore, we respectfully ask that you reconsider this move.
Fr. Ian Taylor came to our parish in September 2016. This means that he would have had merely
three and a half years of ministry with the parishioners prior to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020. From then to present, the Church has been in virtual lockdown with ministries being severely challenged, and the spirituality of parishioners strained, for such an extended period of time.
Fr Taylor demonstrates great love for God and God’s people, and he passionately carries out his priestly ministry. He has been zealously preaching and teaching in the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit. His expectant and exuberant faith has strongly influenced parishioners to grow in their personal relationship with Jesus, their faith and prayer life and in the reading of the Word of God. Apart from administering the Sacraments, our priest, with a constantly growing fervour, shepherds his parishioners by conducting Life in the Spirit Seminars and has started a Parish Charismatic Prayer Group which he faithfully attends and at which he teaches the Word of God to parishioners of Tunapuna and those from abroad. Father’s teachings have caused us to grow in the love of God and His word. His transfer will create a serious void in our meetings.
Fr. Taylor has been mentoring approximately one hundred (100) young people in a very vibrant Youth Ministry. This includes Life in the Spirit Seminars for the youths, Carnival Camps, retreats, evangelization on the streets and in schools, attendance to the annual Jesus Explosion and Youth Explosion. The Youths are also encouraged to manage the youth ministry, the youth choir, lead in masses as youth Lectors, participate as the youth arm in the church’s hospitality ministry for weekend Masses and some have even gone on to pursue a vocation in religious life. Another new and innovative activity is Christmas caroling bringing good cheer and joy to the hearts of older parishioners who may be shut in. The Youths have had outreach programmes to assist families in need.
It must be reiterated that the Youth Prayer Group is a very powerful Ministry at the St. Charles Parish. From its inception to the present, its membership has grown exponentially. Fr. Taylor is always visible and present at youth meetings - explaining the Bible and sharing the word of God as it relates to real life situations. It is our heartfelt desire to ensure that our youths continue their spiritual development and not deviate from the path which they have eagerly undertaken. Can we respectfully emphasize that we would like to see the youths continue to develop and not fall away because of this proposed change.
Fr. Taylor is an evangelist who preaches in the character of the Apostles Peter and Paul of the Book of Acts, seeking to bring persons to conversion and inviting them to come into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as well as to expect to experience signs and wonders. Spouses and families are now more aware of their call to live out their vocation before God and others in our parish. In addition, we cannot help but observe that there is a growth in our Christian Catholic spirituality which has been influenced by Mass homilies and many people now try to live for God’s glory daily. This is as a result of Fr. Taylor’s uncompromising teaching of God’s word. This aspect of growth in our parish may be lost or become stagnated if he departs our beloved parish at this critical time.
We are aware Your Grace, of the practice of moving priests to meet the needs of the Archdiocese and with the shortage of priests to parishes, we recognize the rationale behind this.
Notwithstanding this, we want to reiterate our position as part of the small percentage of practicing and active Catholics of Trinidad and Tobago, that the moving of Fr Ian comes at a precarious time.
Fr Taylor has done, as enumerated above, immense good for the faithful of Tunapuna from September 2016 to March 2020, and though challenged during the pandemic has continued to minister tirelessly to his parishioners.
In Fr Taylor there is a serious resolve, through the Power of the Holy Spirit, in Jesus’ name to bring all under his charge to know the saving power of Jesus Christ to live a full life in Him. John 10:10. Scripture says God will bring to fruition what He has started; we ask you kindly to allow Fr Taylor to finish as best as possible what God has started in this parish as there may be a possible risk of many of the parishioners not returning to church. Any concerned pastor and shepherd would be waiting eagerly to reunite with his parishioners as soon as the Churches are open once again for face to face interaction and to re-ignite the fire.
Your Grace, we are sure that you would really like to see the continuation of all the programmes with little disruption when we return in persona to the parish. The reality which looms near is that the sudden transfer of Fr. Taylor will cause disenchantment to most of the parishioners.
We believe, because of the character of the man, his responsibility and love for God, he will do his best wherever he is placed. However, we request that the parishioners of St Charles be given the opportunity to physically reunite with our beloved pastor Fr Taylor for at least a year or two before he is moved. Consideration should be given that the timing of this change is occurring soon after a lock down of many months.
In addition to what is stated above and on a lesser but still pertinent note, parishioners are concerned about the fact that Fr Taylor is not as young as he was when he started his priesthood and the location of his reassignment is remote from his family and close friends who support him. We ask that you also kindly consider his age.
We thank you for taking the time to read our petition and trust it has adequately highlighted our grave concerns. We, like you, are deeply troubled about the dwindling numbers of active practicing Catholics and would certainly not want this transfer to further contribute to it.
Finally, Your Grace, we pray that through the Holy Spirit you would be directed to reconsider Fr. Taylor’s imminent departure from our parish. We hold onto Faith, knowing that God’s Divine Will would be manifestly done in this matter.
May Jesus richly bless you!
Parishioners of St. Charles Borromeo RC Church