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Pull Quote: “I don’t have any regrets. I don’t feel that I had any doubt. I had made up my mind and that is what I had to do. Now I am celebrating 37 years and I am very happy. I don’t think I would change it for anything. There were rough moments…in the parish, in my personal life, but it wasn’t enough to say that I would ever turn my back on the priesthood or the parishes.”By Leon SuseranFor 37 years he has been giving spiritual nourishment and food to the hungry; praying for theMonsignor Terrence Montrosesick, the dying; witnessed hundreds of marriage ceremonies and presided over scores of funerals. For nearly four decades he has preached hundreds — perhaps thousands of sermons, and has touched thousands of lives.He is known as ‘Father’ and ‘Pastor’ and ‘Brother’ and ‘Friend’ to many and is indeed special in many ways. He has risen out of the borders of being a religious leader to allow his faith in God to do many other things and inspire many other people.Monsignor Terrence John Gordon Montrose is a Catholic priest currently stationed at the Roman Catholic parish in New Amsterdam. His life is a very interesting one.He was born on March 7, 1948 at La Penitence, Georgetown, to Reginald and Pearl nee Dotson. He noted that his mother was ‘mixed’, “born in Suriname but her family was from Guyana”. He attended Ruimveldt Anglican School followed by Miss Boxhill’s Preparatory and finally Tutorial High.He had nine other siblings, who are all now abroad.Father Monty as he is popularly called, in reflection noted that he had a wonderful childhood. There was no television or radio “but the neighbours used to play their radio loud enough so you could hear, but radio wasn’t a big thing for us until Friday nights when they had ‘Tops of the Pops’…when we all used to gather and….Monday nights, ‘Indian Memory Album’ (still on the air today on Mondays)”. That’s how he fell in love with the song ‘Suhani raat’, “it’s one of the Indian songs that I like….which I enjoy very much and the area where I grew up in was quite a mixed area”.He reminisced fondly that every wedding in the area could have been attended with our without an invitation. “Our friends were quite mixed”, he noted.JOURNEY TO THE PRIESTHOODFr Montrose had a rare opportunity to meet Pope John Paul IIYoung Terrence Montrose, during a midnight Mass one Holy Saturday night, decided that he wanted to give his life to the Lord in complete service– to become a priest. He had thought about entering the priesthood sometime before that,Cheap Jerseys From China, while having a conversation with other young people and Father (later Bishop) Singh, “but I told no one”.“This thing hit me straight between the eye (during Midnight Mass) and I said, ‘I want to be a priest’, but again, I did not tell anybody, because in those days,China NBA Jerseys, the priests in Guyana were all foreigners and I doubted the idea that a Guyanese could even vie to become a priest.I never saw a Guyanese priest so I never thought it was possible, but one day my mother asked me and I told her I wanted to become a priest and she said that ‘we cannot educate you’ since there were many of us (siblings).”He later joined the seminary in Georgetown and was encouraged by certain individuals including Father Singh. But then he saw a few Guyanese priests and nuns who came back home and “ran with the Catholic Standard” to his mother and showed her “there’s a black priest!” and she allowed him to go to seminary.He left home to attend St Paul’s Seminary in Vryheid’s Lust from 1965 to 1969, taking part in the basic formation training to become a priest. After that, he left to take up more in-depth studies at the St John Vianney Seminary in Trinidad from 1969-1975 and returned home. He spent a year teaching at St Mary’s Primary in preparation for ordination as a priest and was ordained on August 10, 1975, by then Roman Catholic Bishop (now retired) Benedict Singh.Afterwards, he participated in several pursuits, including teaching and communications. He did courses in television and radio and “was very happy to use the skills in those areas”. Fr. Monty looked after the ‘Catholic Broadcast’ programme for quite some time before his ordination.He began to make preparations to leave for studies in Trinidad and his father was also told about the decision. Sadly, his father passed away three days before young Terrence was to have left for the seminary. That was painful and hard for the lad.He felt a resounding responsibility to take up the challenge and look after his other younger brothers and sisters, “and I thought I would go and look for a job”. But his mother would not tolerate the idea of him changing his mind to enter priesthood and leaving the home for Trinidad.Giving Holy Communion to his mother at his Ordination as a priest in 1975“My mother looked at me– all my brothers were around — and she asked me, ‘Do you have children?’ and I said, ‘no’ and she told me that those were her children and she will look after them and ‘you go your way’. “For me that was very encouraging, so I went and met wonderful friends whom I am still in touch with…we phone each other regularly and we visit each other sometimes.”He fell in love with Philosophy at the seminary and did well in the subject. He began reading History and “loved Literature while doing Theology and Bible and so on”. He made it a Sunday affair to read the Holy Book from cover to cover, “because we were doing intellectual work with the Bible, but the book you were not reading”.INTENSE STUDIES IN ROMETraveling to Rome for more intense studies in the priesthood with particular focus on vocation-training was the next step in Fr. Monty’s journey as a young priest. His request was granted and he traveled there to study Spiritual Theology from 1979-1981. His smile throughout the conversation about Rome proved ideally that those were real memorable days for him.“Rome was a very exciting experience. I lived in a big house with people from all over the world…who did all kinds of studies. We went to various universities. I made beautiful friends and I was the only English- speaking West Indian.”He attended Gregorian University and remembered “spending Sundays going around Rome, looking at the Sistine Chapel, going to all the fountains, and listening to all the languages”. He had to do a one- month intensive course in which Italian had to be learned.“I remember my first day in the classroom I did not understand a word that was being said and I sat there and wrote everything I heard. Over time, I began to learn the language and I enjoyed walking, since my school was two miles from St Paul’s College. I would go through the market place and people would trouble me and interfere with me…I had a beard they used to call be ‘barba negro” (black beard) and then we became friends.”He forged strong friendships with the Italian people and students, “so much so, that the little boys used to come to the college to look for me”. Many of the priests he met and built friendships with have become Cardinals and Bishops in several countries. He was nevertheless happy to return to Guyana.His longest stint (about 20 years) was at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (Brickdam Cathedral) in Georgetown, as Administrator.Monsignor Montrose gives a blessing during a special service for the sick in New Amsterdam in 2011He recounted: “I was eventually glad for a change after two decades. I asked the Bishop if I could go someplace else because I wanted to be more creative. I had thoroughly enjoyed my stay at the cathedral and thought that it was time to go.”Fr. Monty then ministered to a parish at Hague, West Demerara. As is customary,Cheap Stitched Jerseys, Catholic priests in Guyana are moved to various parishes to serve, and our ‘Special Person’ served in places such as Buxton, Linden,NFL Jerseys China, Malgre Tout, Hague, Meadowbank, Kitty, Campbellville, and today in New Amsterdam.For some years, he ministered to the interior Catholic population at Kurupung.“I went there almost every month and that was another interesting experience. They would send the passage for me to catch the plane. I would go to the Pakaraimas (mountains) on which there were several churches,Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale, to help the Bishop with Confirmation and I would enjoy it extremely. It was beautiful walking in the mountains, the valleys, paying attention to all kinds of thing. “I remember one time walking in the clouds– right up the mountain…a beautiful experience! It’s almost like touching God. I tell anybody if they have a chance to go to the Pakaraimas, do so. The creeks and the entire place is so tidy and verdant.”AN ENVIRONMENT ADVOCATEAnd on the point of tidiness, littering is one thing that irks Fr. Monty very much.“If people can really begin to think of the beauty that we have and to sustain that beauty and keep the place clean….Every now and again some club comes out to clean, but the next day the place is dirty again…maybe we need an education drive to help people to keep the environment clean,” he noted.He was faced with a messy and horrible- looking burial ground but being a lover of the environment, Fr Monty took up the task of cleaning it up.“I would clean every morning, and weed and build up, and I used to go and collect all my neighbours’ garbage to build up the pathway, and after a while the burial ground was so beautiful, clean and tidy– with drains and so on. I used to go up and down on the property collecting the grass, picking up all the papers. After a while, people stopped to look at the ground….I used to enjoy it myself and I cleaned and painted the tombs. It was a joy to do those things,” he recalled.He lamented the current conditions of the Republic Road canal in New Amsterdam and recalled swimming in that very canal many years ago, “That was a flowing trench…when I came back it was dead and you wonder what has happened to people, they are not careful about these things anymore. We keep killing all our waterways and gutters and it’s very sad. If you don’t take care of nature, nature will take its revenge on you”.THE POOR CHILDRENFr Monty pays special attention to poor and needy children, “because people took interest in me when I was young”. One way of expressing this is a regular feeding programme that has been ongoing for months in which his parish provides a hot meal to the children at Friends and Edinburgh Primary Schools on the East Bank of Berbice.“I myself have received so much from other people”, he noted, speaking about the memorable interactions with people and moments at Woodside Choir and Theatre Guild as a child himself.“I am very aware that our kids are missing out on a lot…and if I can only get kids and people generally to see that life is not just about food and worrying about what’s happening…and that you can have a most beautiful life by doing other things– reading, poetry. I think our country can be a better place only if they start to do that; to think always in very earthly terms. Perhaps if we talked in lofty terms and if we dream more, we might be able to develop our country much quicker, much better.”Children and young people, he stressed, have always been a deep concern for him, “especially those who are poor, to provide them with at least one hot meal a day and shoes and keeping them in school; to provide them with books”.Fr. Monty loves to travel and his next big plan is to visit Fort Nassau, up the Berbice River. One of his first trips when he became stationed in New Amsterdam four years ago was to visit the Canje River. A few weeks ago, he visited Wisroc in Linden and described it as “the most exhilarating experience”.Fr Monty, in his spare time, loves to tend to his garden and spend time there taking extreme care of his plants.A WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE“It has been a wonderful life for me– the priesthood has been a wonderful experience and I think that I have been able to do things only because of the position I hold. If I was married I would not have been able to do that, but I have been able to help people in various ways,” he asserted.“I have no regrets and if I have to start over, I think I will do the same thing.”Fr Monty’s typical day– believe it or not– begins when most of Guyana is in ‘dreamland’, at 2:30 in the morning.“I do work in the house.  I have dogs and I look after them and I leave home at 3:30am. I go jogging and I am back home by 4:30. I shower and I go in the church. I read, I study, I pray and have Mass at 6 o’ clock, and after that I have many other things to do.”Many love to listen to our ‘Special Person’ who is a powerful preacher. His preparation begins on Monday mornings where he looks at the readings in the Bible and makes jottings in his diary,Cheap Jerseys China, “so by Friday I have the body of the sermon and by Friday evening I try to put it together”. He exerts a lot of time and effort into his messages.Fr Montrose’s work in the Catholic Church in Guyana has been duly recognized by the Vatican and the Holy Father back then in 1984, the late John Paul II, bestowed him with an honorary title given to priests whose works have been dedicated and appreciated. Fr. Montrose became Monsignor Terrence Montrose, a title he was honoured to have, and the Decree was read out to him in Georgetown by then Bishop Singh.“I don’t have any regrets. I don’t feel that I had any doubt. I had made up my mind and that is what I had to do. Now I am celebrating 37 years and I am very happy. I don’t think I would change it for anything. There were rough moments…in the parish, in my personal life, but it wasn’t enough to say that I would ever turn my back on the priesthood or the parishes.”
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