Bishop Robert Anthony Llanos will preside at the Eucharistic Celebration to mark Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and the ordination of a new permanent deacon for the Diocese of St. John’s-Basseterre at 6:00 p.m. on Friday 8th December 2023 at the Immaculate Conception Co-Cathedral in Basseterre, St. Kitts.
The ordinand, Trevor Alphonso Phipps is an Information Technology Manager by profession, and a citizen of St. Kitts and Nevis. Trevor’s faith journey is a most inspiring one, because unlike many who have been Catholic from infancy, he is a Catholic convert who credits the strong Christian influence of his parents eventually the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) for his initial formation. His story is one of searching, being found and finding God, and nurturing an unquenchable desire to share in Christ’s evangelization mission. Trevor’s ordination comes on the heels of the departure of Dcn. Tarlie Francis who has since gone on to serve his country of Grenada in the Diplomatic Corps.
I caught up with Trevor ahead of his ordination and captured some of his reflections:
What was it that drew you to say yes to serving the Church in this capacity?
After baptism and confirmation I got involved in various ministries. I also took part in a Ministry Formation program led by the Sisters of St. Martha, where we looked at ways in which God was calling us to serve. The diaconate was listed as one of the options… but then I felt God was calling me to be a father and husband. A few years later two elderly ladies in the church at different times asked me if I ever considered becoming a deacon. I did not give it much thought…But after that different persons in the community approached me asking me to give it some thought. Those parishioners along with the prayer for vocations that we recite weekly caused me to give the diaconate serious consideration
Share a few words on your faith journey to date
Growing up as a child, church was always a part of our lives…Our parents made sure we went to church with them and then there were the two or three Sunday schools that same day. As I got into the teenage years I began to look at the adult Christians and questioned Christianity itself. If this is how Christians behave there has to be something better. So I started searching for myself, I read widely on most of the main religions. I eventually gave up and said to God when he is ready he will reveal himself.
Fast forward a few years, still waiting..Vanessa and I became friends and she invited me to attend Mass with her [she] asked if I ever considered the Catholic Faith. We would always attend Mass on her birthday Dec 8th Feast of Immaculate Conception, before going out. I later entered the RCIA classes and was baptised and confirmed in October 1992 and [we] later got married in 1993.
I continued to look for ways in which I could be of service. The journey to the diaconate began with promptings from parishioners and began as far back when Fr. Frank Power was parish priest. The question of the diaconate was raised several times over the years and was also put aside several times. However, each Sunday we would say the prayer for vocations, so the question always seemed to be there waiting for an answer.
Funny enough after waiting to give a yes to begin the diaconate program, the program, once started, was filled with stops and starts over the years.. .I believe this was God’s way of helping me to make up my mind. The lesson in this for me is that if you keep searching for God , he will find you.
What are the functions of a deacon?
A deacon has key liturgical duties which are performed primarily in church. These include assisting the priest at Mass, where they proclaim the Gospel. They may even preach on occasions and serve as ordinary ministers of the Eucharist. Other duties include celebrating the Sacrament of Baptism, lead in the celebration of the Liturgy of the the Hours, Eucharistic adoration, Benediction, witness marriages and administer sacramentals. He may also be called upon to fulfill other non-liturgical functions to aid in the Church’s evangelization mission.
Once ordained, the local parishes in St. Kitts and Nevis will benefit immensely from his passion for God and his desire to serve. After all, service remains at the heart of the Church’s ministry and most importantly, the diaconate must be “a driving force for the entire service of the Church.” We pray God’s continued blessings on his life and ministry.