Message of Bishop deSouza Still Relevant

Commemorating a fearless advocate for justice

Although the late Diocesan Bishop, the Rt. Rev. The Hon. Dr. Neville deSouza, was often misunderstood and maligned, there is a connection between his prophetic voice and message and today’s reality, the Rt. Rev. Howard Gregory, Bishop of Jamaica & The Cayman Islands, notes.

Almost three decades since the late Bishop retired in 2000, the nation faces the same challenges, Bishop Gregory stated as he delivered the Sermon during the recent Solemn Evensong on June 11 at the Spanish Town Cathedral where a Memorial Plaque was unveiled and dedicated in Bishop deSouza’s memory. The Sermon was based on passages in Wisdom 5:1-8 and 15-16, which Bishop Gregory said suggested that vindication of the cause of the upright may not occur in their lifetime, but is often realized after their death. 

He described Bishop deSouza as a “fearless voice” at a time of intense ideological debate in the nation. Highlighting six Synod Charges delivered by the late Bishop whose message consistently focused on governance, Bishop Gregory urged the congregation to keep alive the spirit with which he practiced his ministry. Social justice, education, discipline, family relationships, the nurturing of a positive sense of identity among Jamaicans and transformation of the economic infrastructure which brings about poverty were among the major issues which Bishop deSouza addressed.

The plaque was unveiled by Mrs. Iona deSouza, wife of the late Bishop. The inscription read in part: “His was truly a pastoral and prophetic voice to the Church and the Nation.”

Lessons at the Service were read by his daughter, Mrs. Kay Morgan and the Rev. Canon Garth Minott, Warden of Anglican Students at the United Theological College of the West Indies. The Kingston College Chapel Choir led the singing accompanied by Choir Director, Mr. Audley Davidson, and noted Jamaican organist, Dr. Richard Beckford, who is Professor of Music at South Carolina State University. Officiant at the Service was The Very Rev. Canon Collin Reid, Senior Canon and Rector of the Cathedral.

Worshippers included The Hon. Mrs. Justice Zaila McCalla, Chief Justice and Chancellor of the Diocese; members of the ecumenical fraternity led by the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kingston, His Grace The Most Rev. Kenneth Richards; Leader of the Opposition, the Hon. Dr. Peter Phillips and Chief of Defence Staff of the Jamaica Defence Force, Major General Rocky Meade.  

Bishop deSouza, who served as Diocesan for 21 years from 1979 to 2000, died in December 2015.