In many ways it was a celebration of history.
He was the first Dominican to be ordained a Catholic priest for the Diocese of Roseau and he has become the first from the English speaking Caribbean to be named a Cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church.
Well wishers, which included prime minister Roosevelt Skerrit and president Charles Savarin, filled the Lady of Fatima Church in Newtown on Wednesday evening to celebrate a mass with the former archbishop of Castries, Kelvin Felix, in his elevation to the new office in the 2,000 old institution.
Bishop of Roseau, Gabriel Malzaire, said the new Cardinal has been called to serve the church on a different level.
“We see what we do as a service to the church,” he said. “Whatever level on which we operate we are carrying out a function. Our Cardinal, His Eminence has been called by the Holy Father to serve the church on a different level . He is yet to know how this is going to evolve, not only on the level on the Dominican church but on the level of the universal church and precisely on the level of the regional church.”
He thanked God for the Pope to see it fit to call “a son of the Dominican soil” to be named a Cardinal and described it as a “grace bestowed on us as a people, as a Caribbean people.”
Felix described himself as a ‘humble servant’ who has had the support of the faithful in Dominica since his ordination some 54 years ago.
He said his appointment was an unspeakeable act of kindness from God despite limitations. “It is a faith in God without whom such a task would be impossible…” he noted. “When he calls he makes us worthy.”
He said God doesn’t call one do great things “but wants us to be simply faithful, do little things.”
Felix noted that for the Pope to call him at his age means “there is something more the Lord is asking me to do.”
“As you know, I cannot do it alone, I need your help,” he stated.
The mass was attended by Nicola Girasoli, apostolic nuncio to the Caribbean, Jean-Yves Riocreux, Bishop of Pointe-a-Pitre, Gaudeloupe, among others.
Kelvin Felix was born in Dominica on February 15, 1933.
He was ordained a priest on April 8, 1956 at the age of 23.
On July 17, 1981 he was appointed archbishop of Castries and ordained archbishop on April 5, 1981.
He retired on February 15, 2008.
Felix has a long career in the Catholic Church, serving both in Dominica and throughout the Caribbean.