The news circulating early last Tuesday morning around the diocese and beyond was that Bishop Vincent Matthew Darius OP had died. Grenada’s fourth bishop and first local died at a New York hospital at 1.15 on Tuesday morning after prolonged complicated ailment relating to Diabetes and Spinal issues for which he underwent many surgeries.
He was 60 years 8 months, and has become the first bishop to die in office. In fact his predecessor – Bishop Emeritus Sydney Charles has outlived him and he celebrated 90 years two weekends ago. Bishop Vincent Darius, O.P. was appointed Bishop of the diocese of St. George’s-in-Grenada on 10th July 2002, and ordained on 2nd October 2002.
Bishop Darius was born in Crochu, St. Andrew on 6th September 1955 to the late Lawrence and Eileen Darius. He was educated at the St. Martin de Porres Catholic School in Crochu and the Grenada Boys’ Secondary School. He taught for three years at the St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Pomme Rose then entered the religious community of the Dominican Order at Mt. St. Ervans Grenada in 1978. He entered the Novitiate at Holy Cross Priory, Arima, Trinidad in 1979, and he studied for the priesthood at the Regional Seminary of St. John Vianney and the Uganda Martyrs, where he obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology at the University of the West Indies (UWI).
He next pursued a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy in Spanish at the Universidad Central de Bayamon, Puerto Rico. He also did a Graduate Certificate Course in Spiritual Direction at the Aquinas Institute of Theology at St. Louis, Missouri, USA.
Bishop Darius was ordained to the priesthood on 26th June 1987 in his childhood parish of St. Martin de Porres, Crochu by the late Bishop Lester Guilly of Castries as Bishop Charles was overseas under medical care. A year later, Bishop Darius was elected Prior of the Dominican House of Formation in Puerto Rico. On returning from Puerto Rico to Grenada he was appointed parish priest of Roxborough parish in St. Paul’s and a year later parish priest of Blessed Sacrament parish in Grand Anse. In 1989 he was appointed by his Dominican brothers as Promoter of Justice for the Caribbean and served for a period of six years. He was elected the first Prior of the newly established Priory at Roxborough, St. Paul’s and served for two terms.
In the Diocese Bishop Darius held many positions including that of Diocesan Consulter and member of the Priests’ Council. In 2002 the Antilles Episcopal Conference appointed him to the Regional Seminary of St. John Vianney and Uganda Martyrs as Spiritual Director. Bishop Darius has the distinguished honor of being the first Grenadian and the second Dominican (OP) to be made Bishop of the Diocese. The other was the diocese’s first bishop – the late Justin Field O.P. Presently there are two other Dominican Bishops in the AEC, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Castries – His Grace Robert Rivas and David Macaire of Fort-De-France. In 2003 Bishop Darius received an Honorary Doctorate in Humanities and the ex-Alumni Association award for outstanding achievement from the Universidad Central de Bayamon in Puerto Rico. He also received the 2003 ex-Alumni Association award for outstanding achievement.
Bishop Darius’ health challenges began at about 2006-7 in small ways but seemed to increase instead of decrease with the passage of time. Just before the diocesan Synod in January 2010 he had returned to Grenada from health care overseas walking with the assistance of a cane. Since then the Bishop has been under constant medical watch and care as he continued to be in constant pain lesser or greater. Last December the pains intensified and on Wednesday 16th December he was rushed to the General Hospital by ambulance, where he was warded for about a week. He has been out of the diocese since early February and didn’t seem to be making significant improvements, being on life-support machines. The Metropolitan Archbishop of Castries celebrated the Chrism Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in St. George’s on the Monday of Holy Week.
There has been no indication of a successor despite the long period of illness; however, Vicar General – Fr. Clifton Harris OP has been carrying the responsibilities of the diocese assisted and supported by Bishop Emeritus Sydney Charles, Clergy and Religious. Bishop Charles has revealed that a service will be held for Bishop Darius in New York which VG Clifton Harris will attend. Arrangements are being made for the return of the remains as burial celebrations remain pending. Chief spokesperson for the diocese – Fr. Sean Dogget SPS was expected to issue an official release soon. The Grenada Informer Newspaper joins the rest of the diocese in expressing deepest sympathy to family, relatives and friends. Bishop Darius is survived by three brothers, six sisters, several nieces and nephews, relatives and friends, and of course his religious community.
May he continue in
the peace of Christ!