Last Sunday Fr Christian Pereira, Vicar General, informed the nation of the death of Archbishop Anthony Pantin. Following is the text of Fr Pereira's media release:
It is with deep regret and sorrow that I have to inform the faithful and the wider national community that His Grace Archbishop Anthony Pantin, Archbishop of Port of Spain, passed away unexpectedly and peacefully in the early hours of this morning, Sunday, March 12, 2000.
His housekeeper, Ada Mars, became concerned when His Grace did not come down for breakfast, so she called his brother Michael Pantin who came immediately from his home in Ana Street.
When he got no response from the Archbishop's room, he called me at the Cathedral and when I got to the Archbishop's House, I had to climb over an opening to his room.
I found him lying very peacefully but lifeless. So then I immediately called his personal physicians, Drs Richard Clarke and Gerard Farfan who confirmed that His Grace had died probably around 5 a.m.
His sisters and brothers were also informed and arrived at Archbishop's House immediately. This news came as a great shock to all of us who were close to him, as up to yesterday he seemed very well and cheerful.
He spoke to several of his friends, including his secretary June Gonsalves, who reminded him that he had promised to continue writing his autobiography.
His Excellency the Apostolic Pro-Nuncio, the Most Reverend Eugenio Sbarbaro, came immediately upon hearing of the news, together with his Secretary Fr Angelo Accattino. I went to President's House and informed President Robinson, who invited me to pray with him.
Acting Prime Minister Lindsay Gillette was informed and came to Archbishop's House personally to pay his respects. He has informed Prime Minister Basdeo Panday.
Dr Neville Jankey performed the post mortem and said that about two months ago, the Archbishop had a minor heart attack as indicated by a scar on the heart. He died from an acute left ventricular failure. There was cardiac hypertrophy (enlarged heart).
The protocol of the Church requires that when a bishop dies suddenly, the College of Consultors composed of senior clergy and religious superiors must meet to appoint an Administrator of the diocese until a new bishop is appointed by the Holy Father.
The consultors will meet shortly and funeral arrangements will be decided then.
I ask prayers of all for the happy repose of his soul. May he rest in peace.
To the Clergy, Religious and Laity of the Archdiocese of Port of Spain
In the midst of our mourning at the death of our beloved Archbishop, Holy Mother Church requires that we ensure the continued smooth functioning of the archdiocese.
It is, therefore, my privilege and duty to inform you that the College of Consultors has elected the Very Rev. Fr Christian Pereira, Administrator of the Cathedral Church of the Immaculate Conception to be Diocesan Administrator of the Archdiocese until such time as the Holy Father shall nominate a new Archbishop of Port of Spain.
As diocesan administrator, Fr Pereira enjoys full executive powers in the governance of the archdiocese.
I commend him to your unfailing prayers. The clergy are to include him in the Eucharistic Prayer by praying at the appropriate time for "John, our Auxiliary Bishop, and Christian, our Diocesan Administrator."
I take this opportunity to thank you all for your prayerful support of me during this difficult time.
May the Holy Spirit continue to be our strength and our peace in the days ahead as we commend the archdiocese to the maternal intercession of our Blessed Mother.
Most Rev John Mendes
sisters and brothers in Christ,
First and foremost I wish to thank Fr Christian Pereira, Vicar General, for the tremendous energy, clearsightedness and wonderful devotion he has been displaying over the last few months.
Then too, working closely with Fr Christian, I would thank Fr Clyde Harvey, chairman of the diocesan clergy.
I also appreciate very much the steady work done by the staff at Archbishop's House and in general the great support of so many people.
I look forward to a very fruitful Synod 2000.
Finally let me thank you, one and all, dear sisters and brothers for your prayerful support which I have been able to feel almost physically.
May the good Lord richly bless you as only Jesus can. May our beloved Mother Mary continue to show unto you the blessed Fruit of her womb, Jesus.
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