Eulogy on the life of The Very Reverend Patrick Ezekiel McIntosh Dean of St.George’s Cathedral
(Delivered Friday, Jan. 15, 2016 at Victoria Park, Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines.)
By John Horne.
Let all the world in every corner sing
My God and King!
The heavens are not too high,
his praise may thither fly:
the earth is not too low,
his praises there may grow.
Let all the world in every corner sing,
my God and King!
Let all the world in every corner sing,
my God and King!
The church with psalms must shout,
no door can keep them out;
but above all the heart
must bear the longest part.
Let all the world in every corner sing,
my God and King!
I shall return to the words of this hymn shortly.
Patrick Ezekiel; Priest, Apostle, Confessor, Intercessor, Friend and brother was called by God his maker and redeemer to the Sacred Order of Priest and stuck manfully to the call being totally committed and forsaking all else.
The young Patrick McIntosh entered Codrington College in September 1974 together with Colbert Lewis and Ulric Jones, his dearest friend. There they met Richard Paynter and Everton Weekes. On the 21st December 1976 there was an historic ordination of five deacons at St. Paul’s Parish Church Calliaqua on the feast of St. Thomas. On the 7th August 1977 at St. George’s Cathedral Patrick, Ulric, Everton, Colbert and Richard were ordained to the Sacred Order of Priest in the Church of God. The Reverend Patrick McIntosh was first posted to the Parish of St. James, Layou. In March 1985, he was given responsibility for the Parish of The Holy Trinity, Georgetown and spent seventeen years there. On the 1st July 2002 the new Dean and Rector of St. George’s Cathedral, The Very Reverend Patrick Ezekiel McIntosh took office.
Those whose faith enables them to feel and understand the working of the Holy Spirit and to so proclaim these experiences with utter conviction receive both a physical and spiritual lift in so doing. The second verse of the hymn just read says” The church with psalms must shout, no door can keep them out; but above all the heart, must bear the longest part…..”. The hymn that you will be singing next, No. 700 ” Lord pour thy spirit from on high” is an Ember-Day hymn(an Ember day is one of many days reserved for fasting and praying). The first verse is very precise;
Lord, pour thy Spirit from on high,
and thine ordained servants bless;
graces and gifts to each supply,
and clothe thy priests with righteousness.
The third verse reads;
Wisdom and zeal and faith impart,
Firmness with meekness, from above,
to bear thy people in their heart,
and love the souls whom thou dost love.
The foregoing words point unmistakably to the much larger charge given to and received by the ordinand to the Priesthood. When, therefore, we look closely at two significant lines in these hymns; “the church with psalms must shout, no door can keep them out; but above all the heart, must bear the longest part..” and from hymn 700 “Firmness with meekness, from above, to bear thy people in their heart” no one in the Parish of St. George and St. Andrew, this Cathedral Parish, nor indeed in any of the several parishes in which Fr. McIntosh has served can question the extent to which this Man of God has put his heart into the work for which he was consecrated and ordained by his Bishop. The heart is described as a hollow muscular organ that pumps blood through the circulatory system but as vital as this may be, in everyday life, the heart has much wider application. FR. Mc. was a veritable livewire. He was always “on the GO”. “Slow down, Fr. Mc. Slow down!” He would give you that accustomed cool smile but it didn’t change the pace at which he was moving! He put his heart into everything he did. Just ask most of the Church organisations, particularly the women; the Bible-study group, The Parochial Church Council (PCC), Anglican Church Women’s Association (ACWA), The Mothers’ Union, The Communicants’ Association, The Flower Guild . He had found a way into their already open hearts which are now deeply pained! The zeal with which he went about his responsibilities was at times thought to be overly passionate but this was the man! When he delivered ‘The Word’ the strength of his conviction by the message so consumed him that many a person feared the likelihood of ensuing palpitations perhaps aroused externally from exhaustion or internally from a more serious medical and health perspective. Let us reflect for a moment on his frequent exhortations on the favourite subjects of “Mission and Ministry” and “Liturgical Spirituality” and the passion he brought to bear on his presentation.
In a document entitled “Our Dear Archdeacon” no more fitting tribute could have been paid to this untiring worker in the Lord’s vineyard than these words spoken of him by Parishioners of Holy Trinity Georgetown and sister churches:
“During your seventeen years, what a dramatic change has taken place! The Parish Church has been twice restored, the Principal’s house has been developed into a beautiful residence as Rectory, the Byera old school building has been restored to a permanent place of worship. At Sandy Bay, Government was eventually convinced of the need to effect repairs to the school chapel but what is more at Sandy Bay is that the village now has a brand new church building dedicated to The Holy Name! At St. John’s (Owia) continuous repairs have prevented leaks and put in place new doors and windows. At St. Peter’s (Mt. Grennan) the church has been in repair, windows added and retaining walls constructed to arrest the erosion and the Parish Hall at Holy Trinity formerly Progress Hall has been extensively renovated and upgraded.”
Fr. McIntosh so involved himself in the construction of the Church of the Holy Name at Sandy Bay that he was seen as contractor, foreman, mason, advisor, labourer, toter of sand and gravel, (he suffered a torn muscle in his hip from lifting a bag of gravel) storeroom keeper, et al. It was no wonder that his son, Patrick Jr., when he woke one morning, asked his Mom, “Mommy, my Daddy does still sleep here?” When she asked why, he said, “Because when I get up he not here!” So long as this Priest didn’t have a scheduled Morning Mass he left home at 6 a.m. to put the men to work.
In the face of all the plaudits, indeed the strong recognition of his work in a diverse and extended parish, Fr. Mac remained a humble man and did not bask in the glory of his outstanding achievements. Occasionally he would quietly admit to not feeling well but one was able to see the understatement in it. Enshrined in that comprehensive charge to him upon his consecration and ordination was an implied, if not stated, vow of humility to which he adhered scrupulously. Some monks are required to take a vow of poverty and understand that well before entering the monastery. The laity, ordinarily, is under no such constraint in respect of giving honour where honour is due. It is in that context, therefore, that we today praise Patrick Ezekiel, Priest for his exceptional work in this parish. And we believe we are supported in principle, though not a parallel situation, by the words of Ecclesiasticus, chapter44 verse 1 and following:-
“Let us now praise famous men and our fathers in their generations. The Lord apportioned to them great glory, his majesty from the beginning. There were those who ruled in their kingdoms, and were men renowned for their power, giving counsel by their understanding and proclaiming prophecies; leaders of the people in their deliberations and in understanding of learning for the people, wise in their words of instruction.” The writer was, of course, referring to men like Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron and others and the recognition is clear.
Patrick Ezekiel McIntosh was born on the 22nd March 1947 to James and Olive McIntosh of Bequia.
He was very sick at birth and had to have conditional baptism at home. He was confirmed at St. Mary’s Anglican Church, Port Elizabeth, Bequia. Interestingly, when he was yet a little boy, his parents were told by a Baptist lady that he would become a ‘man of God’. He grew up in the church, led the Youth Groups, was a Boy Scout. Even now we can recall with a smile his amusing recollection of having to stand on a Ju-c box to play the tenor pan in his brother, Julie’s, steel band. He was the first person in Bequia to start a combo or small music band. We never heard how many financially profitable engagements they got however. Young Patrick organized social events and fundraising activities. He represented the Parish on Church councils and at Synod. He was a lay reader. After becoming a Priest he carried the Parish of St. Mary under Archdeacon Maxwell, after Fr. James R A Dunn died and before Fr. Adams arrived.
We do not presume to second-guess the Lord’s work but we have seen successive Deans in full cry and the pace is never easy. Occasions like this should make both priest and people wiser, more aware, more sensitive to the vagaries in the life of a Priest or servant of God. It is to his credit that the Right Reverend Leopold Friday, Bishop of the Diocese of the Windward Islands constantly reminds his priests of the need to take their day-off weekly. The average layman may have difficulty understanding this request if only because Saturday or Sunday, depending on your religion, is usually a day off but for our priests Sunday is their busiest day on which they may have as many as five services. This could necessitate their being up by 4.00am to do their daily office and prepare themselves for a first Mass at 5.30am but if by chance they have not completed the preparation of a sermon they may well have to be up earlier at 3.00am.At what time will they get to bed? We parishioners often miss this vital point but to further emphasise it let me quote the short paragraph in the weekly Cathedral leaflet that comes at the end of the article entitled “From the Dean’s desk!” “Arrangements for all Pastoral Matters can be made with Dean Patrick E McIntosh at any time but do try to avoid Mondays as this is usually his day off.” It continues, “In any emergency he is ALWAYS available!” The Bishop also reminds his priests to take that necessary annual vacation as well. Every Dean, human as he or she is, would wish to enjoy a period of rest and retirement. In this case, it was not to be and certainly not for us to question. However, while priests are hustling to maintain their hectic schedules we may be able to do something to slow the pace forasmuch as we know ” the harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few” and not everyone enjoys the same level of health and wellness. Just over thirteen years ago, the parishioners of the Church of The Holy Trinity in their valedictory address “Our Dear Archdeacon “had this to say in the penultimate paragraph as he was about to become Dean of St. George’s Cathedral.
“We are aware of the vast amount of work to be done in your new position and your innate nature to push yourself too hard. Yet while we ask you to do your best, as we know you will, we ask too that you be concerned about your health and your family as well. We shall definitely miss you but we shall be keeping an eye on you even from this distance.” Could Holy Trinity have discerned something since that time?
The Dean and members of St. George’s have had discussions of matters on which they did not always agree but never did he keep anyone malice. He was strong-willed and held stoutly to his opinion unless and until he was thoroughly convinced otherwise. Sometimes we complained about the length of his sermons and the intense passion with which he delivered them but the objective in his effort could never be questioned!
On the morning of 14th December 1977, the same year of his ordination to the office of Priest, Patrick Ezekiel married Carmel Anne Rosain Stowe, his “Darling” as he called her from the morning after their marriage to the day of his passing. The marriage was solemnized at their Parish Church of St. Mary, Bequia. They journeyed back to St. Vincent that evening to return to his parish of St. James, Layou; their first home away from home. Seven and a half years were spent there as Fr. Mc. would say, “serving faithfully in God’s Vineyard”. They had their firstborn, Camille while they were serving in Layou and the next bundle of joy was Patrick Jr. who arrived almost four years later. In the midst of her intense grief, Carmel was still able to share some of her fondest memories that they both enjoyed. The fondest?
“The sound of his voice. I always say it was his voice that wooed me to him.
His smile and his infectious laugh.
His constant touch and hugs.
The way he always told me, “Thank you Darling” — even at times when I said simply “Love you, babes!”
His devotion and dedication to God and His Church.
His ever loving care, concern for, commitment and dedication to his children, our family unit and our extended family!”
Fr. Mc. was a devoted family man who loved them dearly. On the occasions when he was off on official vacation this Priest never travelled without packing his cassock in his suitcase. You can imagine the space that this would have taken up but the commitment to his calling was foremost in his mind. Whenever Carmel spoke to him about his constant ‘going’ he would say, as lovingly as ever, “Darling you don’t understand, I have work to do.”
The English poet John Donne (1572 – 1631) in the earlier part of his 59 years was regarded as a scandalous young spark who wrote bawdy and cynical verses. He later went on to become Dr. John Donne, Dean of St. Paul’s. He wrote many poems and some sonnets. His Holy Sonnet 10 is perhaps akin to what our Dean of blessed memory would have held to stoutly:
“Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones and soul’s delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.”
As we bid farewell, for the time being, to one we loved but see no more, one for whom we give thanks and praise to Almighty God, one who helped us on our journey of faith we can hear him even now, himself, giving thanks and praise to the one whose call he answered and served faithfully:
“You called me to the sacred priesthood. I have lived, loved and practised it, believed it, preached it and now you have called me home to be with you and the faithful departed I proclaim from the mountain tops to the valleys and plains below: Let all the world in every corner sing… MY GOD AND KING.
Requiescat in pace!