Former archbishop Felix surprised by his appointment as cardinal


Former archbishop Kelvin Felix: the first Dominican to become a cardinal.
Archbishop Kelvin Felix: the first Dominican to become a cardinal.

The Dominican-born Kelvin Felix, former archbishop of the archdiocese of Castries, said that the announcement that he had been named as a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church came a “complete surprise” to him. He had, he said, been unofficially informed by phone yesterday from St Lucia. The formal announcement of the appointment of 19 new cardinals had been made earlier by the Pope at the Vatican.

For the first time, two of the new cardinals are from the Caribbean: Archbishop Felix and Bishop Chibly Langlois of Haiti. This is an important development, the retired archbishop told DNO, because “it places our small region on the world map. The Holy Father is trying to make the church representative of all elements – especially the voices of those who’ve never been heard.”

Archbishop Felix will be going to Rome next month for the ceremony on February 22, when new cardinals are formally instated. He will receive “the red hat” which will confer on him the position of cardinal. However, he believes that he will remain working in Dominica. “The Holy Father wants feedback from the region and I hope to be a source of encouragement. I will continue to serve God through the people. That is why I have come back to Dominica.”

He added that he was “standing on the shoulders” of two predecessors from the Caribbean: former Archbishop Gordon Anthony Pantin from Trinidad and former Archbishop Samuel Carter from Jamaica. 

Among those who have congratulated the soon-to-be cardinal is Bishop Gabriel Malzaire of the Diocese of Roseau. In a press statement, he said he was “extremely happy” about the news: “We congratulate Archbishop Kelvin Felix for the great honour bestowed on him by the Holy Father. It is no doubt an indication of his selfless dedication to the Church and the esteem at which he is held by Holy See. We too in the Diocese share in that honour.”

Bishop Malzaire told DNO that he had known Archbishop Felix since 1985 when the archbishop had ordained him a deacon in St Lucia. “He has always been a model to me. He is a very humble man.” Subsequently, Archbishop Felix also ordained him priest and bishop.

He pointed out that on Archbishop Felix’s retirement in 2008, he returned to Dominica as a parish priest, and is now serving under him. “This is very humbling,” he said. Archbishop Felix has served in both St. Patrick, Grand Bay, and St. Mark in Soufriere, where he is now based.

Bishop Malzaire also said the Cardinal designate is a “man of the church” who is known for his work for the ministry not just regionally, but also universally, having worked on committees and boards in the Holy See. It was these qualities that had brought him to the attention of the Holy Father.

Meanwhile, Archbishop Nicolas Girasoli of the Antilles Episcopal Conference (AEC) said that the AEC expressed its “profound gratitude to Pope Francis for having considered, for the first time in the history of the AEC, appointing as Cardinal, a member of the Episcopate of this Region.” In a statement, it added: “We all rejoice and congratulate Archbishop Felix for this appointment which…is an acknowledgment for his long and dedicated service to the Holy See and to the Church.”

Cardinal designate Felix was born in Dominica in on February 15, 1933. He was ordained a priest in 1956 and was archbishop of Castries from 1981 until his retirement in 2008. Archbishop Felix has also served as Principal of St. Mary’s Academy (1972–1975), Associate General Secretary of the Caribbean Conference of Churches (1975–1981), President of the Antilles Episcopal Conference (1991–1997) and President of the Caribbean Conference of Churches (1981–1986).

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    January 31, 2014

    On the behalf of the people of St. Mark, I would also like to CONGRATULATE Fr. Felix. As one who lives away from the island/country, it gives me great pleasure and happiness to learn that on of our children has made to such great heights considering all the pitfalls and hurdles that we as black people have to endure before obtaining such emiment titles. :) :) :)

  2. Ibrahim Brohim
    January 14, 2014

    Congratulations Fr. Kelvin Felix. From my days at SMA he was a great teacher and friend.

  3. January 14, 2014

    Would be nice if we acknowledge that Archbishop Felix was born and raised in MORNE JAUNE wee, and not just simply DOMINICA. My sources tell me he hails from Morne Jaune. At least honor his place of birth, nuh. Let the world know that Morne Jaune continues to produce some of our most accomplished sons of the soil. What say you ?

  4. TRUTH
    January 13, 2014

    At his age now, 80? best mr. go and roll his rosary. Heaven has no place for religion, just for born again believers.

    • Simply the Truth
      January 14, 2014

      What a fool you are and downright disrespectful. You lack consideration for others. Envy will get you nowhere. :twisted: :mrgreen: :twisted: How long do you think you will live and as long as he? You may not be that lucky and to also grow old gracefully with health and strength and in the Lord. Your words will condemn you.
      This is another nonsense of yours who really has absolutely no common sense that Heaven has no place for religion. You believe that garbage which came straight from the jaws of Hell? Who taught you this stupidity and godlessness? :twisted: :mrgreen: :twisted: Without religion and practicing it to its fullest, you can never hope to ever enter Heaven.
      Being born again believers is another grave error which some have misconstrued to suit their warped mentality. You should know that those thousands of churches which were formed and more to come after the Catholic Church was established, Our Lord did not establish them and does not approve of them. They have caused disunity, lack of love and peace.
      These errors have caused many to listen to false indoctrinators and caused some Catholics to foolishly renounce their Catholic faith.
      Let me further inform you. When Our Lord spoke to Nicodemus, a Jew who had not yet accepted Christianity and was not then baptized, he was not referring to those who were already baptized and those who would be baptized in the future, in the Name of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Do you comprehend this? If you do not, pray to God for discernment/ enlightenment.
      Do not be deceived by those who either wish you or cause you to renounce your Catholic Faith to add to financially supporting them and their lifestyle. They are not sincerely interested in your soul that you obtain eternal salvation but what financial profit you are to them. God knows this too. Your soul is liable to go down to the abyss of Hell as they will on that inevitable day.
      Some false prophets who have also expended all their time to persecute the Catholic Church have already arrived there to their eternal regret. If only they would return to tell you but as in the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, God will not allow them to return to tell you for as you presently do, you will not listen to them.
      Listen to the One and Only True Church that Our Lord Jesus Christ established on earth. This is The Church which will lead you to Heaven. Take note, beware and smarten up!

  5. realist..
    January 13, 2014

    congratulations. fr Felix.. the people of soufriere where you minister is proud of You and your accomplishments .more over the work you have been doing here.

  6. Simply the Truth
    January 13, 2014

    Congratulations Archbishop Felix on your appointment to Cardinal. God bless you and always be with you.

  7. Love I
    January 13, 2014

    Congratulations !!!!!! proud to be Catholic..

  8. Anonymous
    January 13, 2014

    Wonderful news…Congratulations Bishop Felix, this is great for you and for the Church…You are always such a man of humility…Pope Francis is a fresh change for the Church…May the good Lord give you continued strength and health..

  9. Anonymous
    January 13, 2014

    This is great great news…Congratulations Bishop Felix…God is truly blessing you and our Church..Pope Francis is a fresh change for the Church..May God continue to keep you in good health and strength.

  10. god is good
    January 13, 2014

    thank u lord for this great news….Dominicans should be proud

  11. Jail-corrupt-leaders
    January 13, 2014

    Congrats but 20 years ago we were next to Reagan now under the Dlp regime we on same level with Haiti

    • Anonymous
      January 15, 2014

      Jail irresponsible bloggers!

  12. Phelia
    January 13, 2014

    Congrats and well deserved.God is great! Bless you.(Lady of the Assumption parish, vieux fort.St lucia.)

  13. Audette
    January 13, 2014

    Congratulations to you Bishop Felix.

  14. Cyrique
    January 13, 2014

    Cardinal designate Felix please accept my heartfelt conraultions on your forthcoming elevation to the appointed office where you will continue to serve God and guide our people as you continue to do God’s work in Christ. I am extremely proud of you and I thank Pope Francis (God bless him) for considering you worthy of the appointment of Cardinal. I’ve known you since I was a child you are a holy man in my family’s eyes and certainly in the eyes of The Holy Father. May Gos give you guidance, wisdom and good health in all your endeavours. God bless you. We’re shining on the map again!!!!! God bless DOMINICA !!!!

  15. Senior Citizen
    January 13, 2014

    Your Eminence! Sincere congratulations and continued blessings

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