History in Barbados’ Catholic church

A Barbadian made religious history this week by moving from the elevated position of an Anglican priest to be ordinated as a Catholic priest.

Last December Winston Layne had participated in another piece of Barbadian history as one of two citizens as ‘transitional deacons,’ marking the first time in over four decades that persons from Barbados had been consecrated and set on their way towards becoming ordained ministers of the Catholic Church.

At that time, in his transition to the Catholic priesthood he also made history for being a married man pursuing such standing in the diocese.

That ordination six months ago made him the only Barbadian since Father Leslie Lett in 1998 to convert from the Anglican priesthood to Catholicism to serve as a deacon and as a married man.

“For Winston [Layne] we’ve had to ask special dispensation because clerical discipline is that anyone that will become a priest needs to be a celibate,” said the then Bishop Gordon, who himself has since been elevated to the position of Archbishop. “We’ve received from Rome special dispensation for him to become a priest within the Catholic Church and as a married man.”

In a ceremony chockful of rites, postures of supplication, prayers, and song Tuesday, Layne was ordained into the Presbyterate while three persons were initiated Catholic deacons at the St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Layne, 74 and father of one, stated Tuesday, “I see my life as a story of faith. From my childhood and early adult life right through to present time have been periods of serious wrestling with self and purpose. Then there was my answering the call to follow a priestly life in the Anglican church, and on to this moment.”

He added, “for me priesthood is a way of life. It is the best way I believe I can live out my consciousness of being, the best way I can give expression to my true self, my way of being Christian.”

Layne’s religious education took him from Codrington College in Barbados, to the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and University of Notre Dame in the United States; followed by St. George’s College in Jerusalem. With such a background, the faithful of Barbados stand to benefit regardless of the denomination in which he chooses to dispense his knowledge.

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