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Caribbean clergy says goodbye to Fr Charles
Catholic priests, bishops and archbishops, members of the Port-of-Spain archdiocese, family, friends, parishioners and well-wishers turned out at the Church of Assumption, Maraval, yesterday to say their final goodbyes to Fr Henry James Charles. He died of a heart attack on January 15 at the presbytery of St Mary's RC Church, Mucurapo. He was 69. He spent 42 years in the priesthood.
Fr Clyde Harvey described the gathering as the greatest assembly of the Caribbean Church in many years as more than 15 priests from both T&T and the Caribbean formed a solemn line as the casket bearing Charles' body was brought into the church.
Archbishop Joseph Harris described him as good man who enjoyed the simple things in life. He recalled Charles' love of a good lime and his culinary skills, especially his coconut sweetbread.
Harris told parishioners of Charles’ church, St Mary's RC, Mucurapo, that at the moment there was no replacement for the man many referred to as a brother and counsellor but that during moments of crises there was great opportunity and called for Catholics to come together to find a solution to the problem now faced.
Charles specifically requested no eulogy but in delivering the homily Harris described Charles as an intellectual but as a man of great compassion. He recalled Charles as "a shy young man whose head was always in a book" as a student at St Mary's College. He was appointed head of the Integrity Commission in 2009 but stepped down days later, citing a canon-law rule against his holding the post, after being accused of plagiarism in his column in the T&T Guardian.
He leaves to mourn his brother Oswald, sister Laura, brother-in-law Lloyd Joseph and niece Lorraine Joseph. Also attending the funeral were Bishops from neighbouring Caribbean countries, including Jason Gordon of Barbados, Gabriel Malzarie of Dominica and Archbishop Robert Rivas of St Vincent and the Grenadines.
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