Bishop French celebrates 50 years of priesthood


08-June-2013

Bishop French: Celebrating 50 years of priesthood

A thanksgiving mass is being organised at the St Paul’s Cathedral at 3pm to mark this auspicious occasion.

Consecrated the first Anglican Bishop of Port Victoria in 1979 and elected Archbishop of the Indian Ocean Province -- which includes Mauritius and Madagascar -- in June 1984, Bishop French retired as Bishop in 2004 but is still in charge of St John’s parish at Glacis and often presides at services, including weddings, baptism and funerals and this includes at St Paul’s Cathedral.

Bishop French is also still a very active member of various other organisations like Friends of Prison, the National Council for the Disabled and the National Council for Children (NCC). He is also very much involved in the Seychelles Inter-faith Council (Sifco) which he played a key role in setting up.

Catching up with him yesterday afternoon just before he went into one of his meetings, Bishop French was glad to share his feelings on the eve of this remarkable moment.

“I feel a great sense of thanksgiving. Just like before the start of climbing a mountain or starting married life one never knows if one would make it to the summit and each day you have to be grateful to the Lord and thank Him for everything.
Looking back at 50 years of priesthood, I am thankful to the Lord for life itself, for everything that has happened in my life, the inspiration he has given me. There has been very good moments and some very difficult times as well but one thing which is certain is that God is always present in everything I do,” said Bishop French.

Bishop French is also very thankful to God for his family, friends and colleagues who have always been there to give him all the support and encouragement over the years.

He also expressed great thankfulness to Seychelles our country which he says is like a mother who has cradled him and been there for him, as well as to all the people whom he knows, regardless of their faith, and to all those “from whom I have learnt a lot in my life I am very thankful to God for them all”.

While he still carries out his priestly duties, Bishop French also provides a lot of counselling and visits the sick at the hospital and take Holy Communion to the sick at home.

“I feel happy and content with my life. Though not shouldering the  great responsibility of the diocese I still remain at the service of the church and ready to assist in any way I am called to do so,” said Bishop French.

Bishop French, who is the father of two grown daughters, is also a contented grandfather of two grandchildren with whom he spends a lot of time.

With his advancing age, Bishop French said he cannot do his gardening as he used to but with help he still tends his small garden at his home at Bel Ombre. 

After completing his thesis he is together with a colleague preparing to write a book on the impact of slavery on family life in Seychelles.

At the crossroad of this important milestone in his life, Bishop French’s wishes are that Seychelles remains the peaceful and stable country that it has always been and that people of all faiths focus and concentrate their energy, effort and strengths on all the things that unite us  as a nation and a people and such things are education, family values and unity.

“Regardless of our different faiths we should all work in collaboration and should not compete with each other.  Any sign of friction between the different faiths saddens me deeply but I know if we focus on the things that are positive and unite us we will go very far in life,” added Bishop  French.

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