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"December madness is here". That is the slogan of the annual Crusaders basketball tournament set to get underway today.
The Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Academy Crusaders Christmas Invitational Basketball Tournament starts this afternoon at the St. Georges Gym in Freeport, Grand Bahama, and will run until Saturday. It is the oldest and longest running senior boys high school basketball classic in the country. Known as the "grand daddy of all high school boys basketball tournaments in the country", the classic is now into its 39th year. A total of 10 schools from Grand Bahama, New Providence and Canada will battle for the prestigious title this year.
The tournament first tipped off back in 1976 at the YMCA Gym on Settlers Way in Freeport. The fact that Hawksbill High, led by the late superstar guard Jerry Johnson, won the first ever tournament remains an unsettling reality for the host school Crusaders. Since 1976, Hawksbill and the Crusaders have won quite a few Christmas titles, but the debate continues -- which school had the best teams?
Mixed in this battle of young talented future stars is an historic rivalry that some old men cannot seem to let go.
In light of that, former players of the Hawksbill High School will take on former Grand Bahama Catholic High School Crusaders players on the Friday of the tournament.
This Friday at 7 p.m., St. Georges Gym will get a taste of history, a feel of the good old days, a touch of sports class, and fans will hear and scream the traditional Crusaders and Hawks chants, as the former players will challenge each other at that time. Players from the 1970's, 80's, and 90's are expected to clash.
The Crusaders 1980's Most Valuable Player (MVP) Ben Russell said he is still fit enough to out-play Hawks' 1990's superstars Scott Forbes and Franco Miller. Former Hawks' all-around sports great Dudley Seide has sent out a challenge to Crusaders' legends Xavier and Brad Russell, Lynden Wilchcombe, Moses Pinder, and Casey Jones.
Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Academy's Principal Joye Ritchie-Greene stated that the old scholars grudge game will be the highlight of Friday's 'Family Fun Night', with lots of laughs, great memories, and prizes.
"Proceeds will support the academic and athletic plight of students and we invite all former Crusaders, Hawks and others to be a part of a wonderful event," said Ritchie-Greene.
The tournament will tip off at 3 p.m. this afternoon with the St. Georges Jaguars taking on the Jack Hayward High Wildcats, both out of Grand Bahama. Games will be played through the evening, and then pick up again at 12 noon tomorrow afternoon. The opening ceremony is set for 10 a.m. tomorrow morning.
In his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), Pope John Paul II wrote movingly of the value of human life, rooted in the Roman Catholic social tradition's touchstone of the dignity of the human person.
In addition to addressing issues such as abortion and capital punishment, Pope John Paul II spoke to the matter of culture and how a culture influences attitudes towards life and death.
In every land, in every time, the cultures of life and death contend for the human spirit. In this time, in our country, the battle is waged on many fronts, but particularly so in a culture awash in criminal violence and an acceptance of and willful connivance in all manner of criminality by some.
We like slackness here at home. Slackness is deeply rooted in our culture. And culture makes all the difference in terms of the promotion of life or death, violence or non-violence.
Abroad, we tend to abide by the laws and mores of the jurisdiction we are visiting. But many of us can't wait to get home so that we can throw trash from the car window, ignore traffic signs, park anywhere we like, behave in an uncivilized or vulgar manner or ignore basic civilities and manners.
A number of young men who probably think of themselves as good citizens nevertheless see nothing wrong with roaring through this city on noisy motorcycles, generally disturbing the peace while police do nothing.
A 17-year-old visiting the U.S. will be carded if he or she attempts to buy alcohol. Yet many of us have no problem sending someone underage into a liquor store to buy a couple of beers or a bottle of rum.
Many store owners have no problem selling liquor to minors. Some police and parents often turn a blind eye. We like it so. We like slackness.
A dear friend tells of watching a group of young teens walking around in public late one evening drinking from a bottle of Carlo Rossi. Not only were they up and about way past an acceptable hour, they were cavalierly drinking from an open bottle on a public roadway, which of course is illegal even for adults.
The teens were breaking several laws. But in a culture which tolerates all manner of laxity and slackness, they cared not a wit. These boys were learning from an early age that law and order are flexible concepts in a culture which tolerates a high degree of lawlessness and disorder.
There aren't that many years to graduate from those boys drinking on that street to boys selling drugs on those same streets to more hardened criminals laughing at the state struggling to prosecute them in a criminal justice system overwhelmed with cases and defendants.
On those same streets such boys will every few blocks pass illegal numbers houses sometimes guarded by off-duty police officers. It all reinforces a culture of lawlessness.
The spread of a gangland culture spawned by the scourge of drugs and violence of the late 1970s and 80s metastasized over the ensuing decades into the virulent culture of violence and antisocial behavior which haunts us today with all manner of crimes and viciousness we thought impossible for Bahamians.
Our culture is sicker and more pathological in various ways than we dare believe. In our own slack behavior and tolerance for various types of crime we contribute to a culture of lawlessness and violence.
Slackness is a slippery slope. We have been slack as parents, public officials, business people, religious leaders and as citizens. Our children know it and the criminal class counts on our slackness.
Take the criminal justice system. The courts are so overwhelmed that many criminals believe that the consequences for crimes committed today, may be years down the road, if ever.
The last Ingraham administration sought to address a number of the problems in the criminal justice system in terms of prosecutors, judges and courts. The Christie administration should continue to convert existing buildings into more courtrooms and judges' offices as necessary.
While aggressive policing is required to address today's criminal class, there is an urgent need for a program of unprecedented social intervention to address potential criminals, mostly young men, who may wreak havoc on our society in the years ahead.
The culture of death must be met by a culture of life-giving possibilities beyond the death dealing of gangs, guns and other avenues and instruments of violence.
The children of light in our country must summon the willpower, the wiles and the imagination to defeat the stratagems of the children of darkness.
There are those for whom life no longer matters, those not satisfied just to rob but who must also maim or kill their victims because life is that dispensable, meaningless, brutal and short.
A pastor recalls a parishioner who asked whether those criminals who are going about in the day can't see what they're doing to the country. His response: "For some who walk in darkness, no amount of light makes a difference."
But a culture of life and avenues to help others to avoid or to step out of the darkness may make a difference. Making that difference requires a sustained and massive social intervention strategy with various components.
One of the components is youth development with programs like Outward Bound and AMIkids, both of which have shown considerable success.
Outward Bound is an "experiential learning, expedition school and outdoor learning program... that serves people of all ages and backgrounds through challenging learning expeditions that inspire self-discovery, both in and out of the classroom".
The highly successful global initiative also offers a program known as the Intercept Program for At-Risk Youth and Troubled Teens. It is designed for young people from ages 12 to 22 and addresses "the needs of struggling teens and at-risk youth beginning to demonstrate destructive behaviors, as well as the needs of their families".
The Intercept Program serves "youth, young adults, families, schools and communities... at risk of academic failure, dropping out of school, delinquency or becoming chronic offenders".
AMIkids was the brainchild of a judge who got tired of seeing the same juvenile offenders returning to his court over and over. Today, AMIkids is thought to operate "some of the most effective juvenile justice and alternative education programs across" the United States.
To offer readers a clear sense of AMIkids, there are extended quotes following from the organization's website.
"Residential programs operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week with students residing in dormitories on campus. The youth are committed to these programs for approximately four to nine months and can be committed for as long as 36 months.
"The youth reside at the program and leave only for off-site, supervised program activities or approved furloughs. Family visitations vary by program. Youth have been adjudicated delinquent by the court and typically have multiple misdemeanors or felonies.
"Education curriculums deployed in AMIkids programs use differentiated instruction, individualized student planning, progress monitoring, online/computer assisted educational software and experiential education/service learning, all in partnership with pro-social relationships between staff and students.
"Many youth come to AMIkids 'deficient in a wide variety of appropriate, pro-social behavioral repertoires. They lack social skills, anger management, pre-employment skills, communication, self-management, rule following, delay of immediate gratification, etc.'
"To help students develop short- and long-term pro-social behavioral repertories and facilitate the daily management of behavior throughout the program, AMIkids programs employ procedures and techniques of behavior modification and utilize a sophisticated behavior modification system."
Like Outward Bound and other successful intervention programs, AMIkids utilizes experiential learning: "AMIkids' experiential education gives each student the opportunity to face challenges and to overcome them, gaining greater self-worth and helping to form a better value system.
"Programs are integrated based on the geographic strengths of each location and include seamanship, water safety, fishing, low ropes, high ropes, backpacking, music, gardening, culinary arts, reptile and wilderness programs to give each student meaningful and challenging experiences in a variety of ways.
" ... For those kids with more serious learning and behavioral issues, there have been startling results."
There are a number of models that we can draw upon in confronting the challenge, but there must be massive, multi-layered, national interventions now if we are to save ourselves from this culture of death and bequeath to future generations a greater culture of life.
o firstname.lastname@example.org o www.bahamapundit.com.
Several talented students will start their new academic year off right thanks to Custom Computers Ltd.
After randomly drawing 25 student names from the entries in the “As for Excellence” campaign, the winners of the top three prizes were recognized for their outstanding academic achievements with the latest technological gadgets sure to make project research and writing for school a little sweeter.
FREEPORT, Grand Bahama -- The Customer First Associates is scheduled to hold their Sixth High School Speech Competition on Thursday, October 17, 2013 11:00a.m at Foster B. Pestaina's auditorium.
We extended invitation to all high schools to participate in this significant event. However, we received confirmation from Eight Mile Rock High, Grand Bahama Catholic High, St. George's High, Sir Jack Hayward High and St. Paul's Methodist College.
The vision of The Customer First Associates is to sensitize awareness in the delivery of quality service in Grand Bahama; and indeed throughout The Bahamas.
Therefore, in order to drive this initiative we decided in 2008 to involve students from various high schools throughout Grand Bahama. They are the next generation to effect the desired change in this delicate commodity.
Our paramount concern is to instill values in our young people, to guide them on this significant journey to maximize performance in the delivery of continuous improvement in "World Class Service"
Additionally, in 2012 students who participated in the speech competition were employed throughout the summer. We were very encouraged by the impressive results confirmed in The Employer's Report, remarkable improvements of work ethics, going above and beyond in delivery of customer service and a good team player.
The Democratic National Alliance (DNA) is prepared to deliver our message of REAL CHANGE for ONE BAHAMAS to every Bahamian in every community. In that manner, we have hosted a "Street Meeting" on Thursday November 3 at the corner of East St. and Hay St........
Nassau, Bahama - DW Davis Junior
High School wins the Highest Enrollment Award Floating Trophy in the Junior
Achievement Bahamas (JA) First Cycle of the Elementary and Juniors Programme.
The Certificate Presentation Exercise was held March 23, 2012 at Golden Gates Outreach Ministries,
Carmichael Road. Other winners include: the Grates Initiative Award
Primary School, Xavier's and Our
Lady's Catholic Primary Schools; the Grates Initiative Award Junior School, C.
H. Reeves Junior High School...
FREEPORT, Grand Bahama - Minister for Grand Bahama and Member of Parliament for Pineridge, the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville said October 18, that to build the country it is important to recognise and appreciate what is Bahamian.
NASSAU, The Bahamas -- St. Cecilia's Catholic Primary School students recently perform a skit about Sir Milo Butler opening a bank account, entitled 'They Told Me No' by Candace King, during the E. Clement Bethel National Arts Festival's New Providence Adjudications, at the Holy Trinity Activities Centre, Stapledon Gardens. (BIS Photo / Eric Rose)
Centreville Primary School Drama Club members recently perform a skit about Bahamian fathers and their duties, during the E. Clement Bethel National Arts Festival's New Providence Adjudications, at the Holy Trinity Activities Centre, Stapledon Gardens. The group received the highest score for their New Providence performing class. (BIS Photo / Eric Rose)
By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
The St Cecilia's Strikers got their eighth straight victory Monday in the Catholic Diocesan Primary Schools Basketball League, taking advantage of their home turf to delight their fans with an impressive 68-21 win over the struggling St Thomas More Sparks.
It was a stellar performance from St Cecilia's, who posted two 50-point decisions this season, according to statistics provided by tournament organiser Patricia 'Pat' Coakley.
The score of yesterday's game was the second highest ever behind an historic 74-2 win by the St Francis/Joseph Shockers over the Xavier's Giants in the mid-1990s.
Ivar Lightbourne can look back at the school year and smile at the about-face he's made in life through a mentoring program he enrolled in at Aquinas College during his eleventh grade year. Because of the Male Empowerment Program, Ivar said he has matured physically and can now boast of sharing a spiritual relationship with God.
"I am a changed young man," Ivar said, adding that his grades have improved and that most importantly, his attitude and outlook on life did a 360-degree turn. He gives all the credit to Barry Wilmott, who mentored a group of young men during the school year through the use of religion...
Funeral Service for the Late Eric Bertram Cash, 93 years of #8 Cusbin Road, Blue Hill Estates and formerly of Wulff Road and Smith's Lane, will be held on Monday February 13th, 11:00 a.m. at Our Lady's Roman Catholic Church, Deveaux & Young Streets. Fr. Alain Laverne and Deacons Peter Rahming and Maxwell Johnson will officiate. Interment will follow in Woodlawn Memorial Gardens, Soldier Road.
He is survived by His Sons: Dr. Earl Cash, Patrick, Gregory, Ronnie Cash of Orlando, Fla. and Duane Cash of Hollywood, Fla.; Daughters: Georgina Albury of North Port, Fla., Sandrea Miller, Jennifer Cash, Paula Nedd of Tampa, Fla., Angela Cash of Miami, Fla., Sonia Thompson, Anna Heastie, and Dr. Cheryll Cash M.D. of Houma, La.; Sons-in-law: James Albury, Clyde Nedd, Kenneth Thompson, and Anthonty Heastie; Daughters-in-law: Cheryl, Michelle, and Ruth Cash; Grandchildren: James Jr. and Christopher Albury; Dr. Earl Cash Jr. M.D. and Christie Cargill; Erica Cash-Burrows; Precious Smith, Krystal, Gregorinique and Basilena Cash; Jannah Wilmott; Dr. Nona (Tara) Martin-Storr M.D. and Clyde Nedd Jr.; Kenneth Gerrick, Jermaine, and Tatianna Thompson, and Dr. Tanya Badamosi M.D.; A. Antoine and Ajene Heastie; Ronique, Staff Sargeant Karyss Cash, Christal, Lisa, Rychelle, Yasmine and Yolanda Cash; Sharde Husain, Duane Jr. and Michael Cash; Nicholas and Nicholette Cash; Grandsons-in-law: Dr. Adrian Cargill M.D., Akeem Badamosi, Dr. Virgil Storr, Dwight Burrows, and Dario Smith; Granddaughter-in-law: Vedell Heastie; Great grandchildren: Jai-Le Simmons, Jade Williams, Anarghya Heastie, Gianna and Jayden Badamosi, Adrian Cash, Johann Sebastian Cash, Brittany Gomez, Tyler and Dario Jr. Smith, Michael Husain, Bryce Albury, Ari and Gayle Burrows, Jermia Thompson; Niece: Dorothy Francis; Other relatives and friends: Arch-Bishop Patrick Pinder, The Rt. Hon. Perry Gladstone Christie, Father Alain Laverne, Monsignors Preston Moss and John Johnson, Father Michael Kelly, Seminarian Oscar Ferguson, Deacons Peter Rahming, Maxwell Johnson and Samuel Mitchell, Sisters Ena and Cecilia Albury of St. Martin's Monastery, Pastor Jeffrey Woods, Francis Richardson, Eleanor Mitchell, Eugene Nicolls, Donald Wallace, Christopher and Francita Outten, Sandra Johnson, Willie, Stephen, Bernard, Sterling, Wendell, Kaven, and Joanna Francis, Agatha Bevans, Theresa Simpson, Sonia Bostwick, Henrietta Miller, Roland Goffe, Paula Henry (care-giver), Margaret Claridge, Carolyn, Myra and Rayangelo Sturrup, Harold and Betty Grant, Shirley Roberts and Family, Hilda Moxey and Family, Jack Thompson and Family, Andrea Rahming and Family, Adrian Russell and Family, The Daniels Family, Rosemary Sargeant, Ruth and Wayde Thompson, Nellie Thompson of Canada, Prosper and Carmelina Burrows of Freeport, Grand Bahama, Reverend James Rahming, Freddie Lord, Stencil Ferguson, Patricia Dickenson, Marjorie and Harry Lord, Jeffrey Sturrup, Myra and Rayangelo Sturrup, Philip Butler, Brad Storr, Gary Smith, Charles Butler, Ryan Dorsette, The Lyford Cay Family, The Lou Adams Orchestra, Our Lady's 6:30 a.m. Choir, The Bahamas Musicians and Entertainers Union, The Wulff Rd. Community, The Our Lady's Church Family, The Department of Public Health, S.C. McPherson Jr. High School, Ms. T. Nicola McKay and Ms. Cheryl Samuels & the H.O.Nash Jr. High School Family, Higgs and Johnson, Arawak Homes, Tyre-Flex, The Bahamas Industrial Tribunal, The Immigration Department and the Department of Labour, and many others too numerous to mention.
Friends may pay their last respects at Bethel Brothers Morticians, Nassau Street on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and on Monday at the church from 10:00 a.m. until service time.
There can be no doubt that one of the major burning issues in our nation is the matter of stem cell research and therapy. Discussion on what direction our nation should take in dealing with stem cell research has led to much heated debate often highly polarized in nature. Indeed, the dust has not settled around the controversy generated by this debate and is discussed everywhere from the halls of Parliament to the barber shops...
Documentary of Bahamas School for Special Kids a hit at Film Festival...
By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
The Jordan Prince Williams Falcons rode into St Augustine's College Big Red Machine territory and put a dent in the Bahamas Association of Independent Secondary Schools' junior boys' softball season.
In the season opener for both teams yesterday at SAC, the Falcons came from behind to fly past the defending champions Big Red Machine 15-13 in a game that had a whole lot of thrills and spills.
"It was a game that could have gone either way. We are just glad that we came out with the victory," said Falcons' coach Dave Wood as Jordan Prince Williams beat their Catholic arch-rivals for the first time sinc ...
Nassau, Bahamas - There are just three days away from
the exciting and competitive Scotiabank National High School Track and
Several schools from Grand Bahama have
registered for the competition. They are Tabernacle Baptist, Catholic
High, and Bishop Michael Eldon High. They are bringing their largest
teams in recent memory.
Schools registered from other islands
Long Island: North Long Island, N.G.M.
; Andros: North Andros, Central Andros,
; Abaco- Central Abaco, Moore's Island,
Freeport, Grand Bahama - With ticket sales in full swing
Festival Noel is gearing up for a real "Sweet 16." As part of this year's annual event local high schools and the
College of The Bahamas will compete for the coveted title of Chef Noel.
Confirmed for this year's Chef
battle event are Catholic High School, Eight Mile Rock, St. George's and the
College of The Bahamas. "These
students are really excited to show off their talents to Grand Bahamians," said
Cecilia Bodie, GB BNT Manager, "I am excited to see how the Chef battle turns
out and who has been the most creative!"
to two new sponsors the students will be able to participate this year. Both
SAVEMORE Food store and the Freeport Container Port and its group of Companies
generously stepped up to help them. "Freeport Container Port (FCP)...
Minister of Education, Science and Technology Jerome Fitzgerald appealed to teachers last night to be more concerned about students with learning disabilities, and said he expects that with training they will do a better job of identifying those students this year...
The special needs school at the former Our Lady's Catholic Primary School will be completed by the end of this month and opened in September, Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald said yesterday.
Last April, Fitzgerald announced the government will spend more than $1 million to renovate the former school into an institution for special needs students.
The school was expected to be completed earlier this year.
Fitzgerald said there were some challenges with the floor of the building and a decision was made to reinforce it in January.
He said while he has not been advised that the project is over budget, he expects there will be some cost overruns.
"To what extent that is I cannot say at this point, but I do not suspect that it will be that much," he told The Nassau Guardian during a tour of the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium.
The government recently completed the proposed draft legislation on the Persons with the Disabilities Equal Opportunities Act, 2013.
Fitzgerald added that the renovation of St. Bede's Catholic Primary School, which the government became responsible for last year, is complete and the media will soon be invited to tour the school.
"The school is a beautiful facility, and probably has the most modern and beautiful preschool we have in the country," he said.
"It will also house all the administrators for the preschool department."
The minister said the new schools are expected to have a major impact on the academic performance of students with special needs who attend.
Nassau, Bahamas - Rodney Moncur, coordinator of the Bain and Grants Town Urban Renewal office, conducts an inspection of Brownies during the celebration of Flag Day at Our Lady's Catholic Primary School November 16.
Two teams who tangled in the Catholic Primary Schools basketball playoffs last year, will meet in the best-of-three championship this year. The Our Lady Blue Flames stifled the Xavier's Giants in their sudden death playoff game, 31-23, yesterday, and the St. Cecilia's Strikers blasted the two-time defending champions St. Bede's Crushers, 29-10.
Blue Flames 31, Giants 23
The Giants outscored the Blue Flames, 13-3, in the final three minutes of their playoff game yesterday, but it proved to be too little too late for them.
Deangelo Mackey put his team on his shoulders and carried them to an impressive victory. Arguably the best primary school basketball player in the country, Mackey di ...
THE Government plans to convert Our Lady's Catholic Primary School into a special education centre for the disabled, Education Minister Jerome Fitzgerald said.
Kenneth 'Six' Francis, former publisher of The Nassau Guardian, died quietly in hospital around 3:22 a.m. yesterday, his family said.
He was 82.
Francis was instrumental in shaping the pages of the print business much of his life as he brought on board the new generation of talent in the media business, the family noted.
It was during Francis' era when The Nassau Guardian was transformed into a fully digital publishing facility.
Francis was born in Nassau on May 15, 1930 at his parents' home on Fort Fincastle.
As a youngster, he was an avid sportsman and an aspiring musician in the St. Francis band.
Francis once said he was not a Catholic but was invited in by the organizers because of his talent. His musical instrument of choice was the clarinet.
Francis met his wife, Stephanie Marie Francis (nee Marshall), as they both played in the band.
Although he played many sports, his sport of choice was cricket.
On many occasions during his early adult years, he had the privilege of representing The Bahamas throughout the West Indies on The Bahamas National Cricket Team.
'Six', as he was affectionately known, had his name carved in the pages of Bahamian sports history for his dedication and commitment to breaking down the color barrier for golf in The Bahamas.
He was a former president of The Bahamas Golf Federation.
During his professional career, Francis often spoke to students impressing upon them the benefits of staying in school and completing their education.
His proudest accomplishment was being awarded the Queen's Honour of the Commander of the British Empire (CBE), an award which he said represents the greatest honor for community service.
"He has left his indelible print on the sands of time here in The Bahamas and across the region," his family said.
"Today he leaves us to be forevermore with the blessed, and take up his place in the court of the saints."
Francis is survived by his wife Stephanie and children Joyann, Patricia, Stephen, Debra and Kenrah, along with a host of relatives and friends.
"Look around. Think about what you see. Give thanks."
A month ago, we paid tribute to Fr. Bonaventure Dean who died in Canada on May 16, after a protracted battle with prostate cancer. That column covered his life in The Bahamas, focusing primarily on his career which spanned the period beginning with his ordination as a Roman Catholic priest in 1963 up to the time that he left St. Augustine's College and Monastery, the priesthood and The Bahamas in the summer of 1971. During his brief, but meteoric career in The Bahamas, he rapidly rose from history teacher to Dean of Discipline at St. Augustine's College, finally becoming, from 1967 to 1971, the first Bahamian to simultaneously hold the positions of Headmaster and Prior of St. Augustine's College and Monastery, respectively.
Therefore this week, we would like to Consider This... what became of Fr. Bonaventure Dean, in the four decades after leaving The Bahamas in 1971 until his death, during which period he reclaimed the name given to him at birth: John Dean?
Perhaps the most immediate question that many persons familiar with that tumultuous era would want to know is why did he leave? His dazzling spectacular rise at St. Augustine's was legendary. At the exceptionally tender ecclesiastical and secular age of 31, he had become the leader of the Monastery and the College and also during that period he served as the President of the Bahamas Christian Council. Without a doubt, he was on a rapid trajectory that probably would have catapulted him to become the first Bahamian Catholic bishop had he remained, potentially accelerating that historic moment by three decades from its actual realization. So why did he leave?
The most succinct answer can be found in the words of John Dean himself, who in a Canadian publication in 1977 asserted that: "We have the tools to live in the way that [humans] can live most richly and in the way that may well become inevitable--i.e. communally, where the individual has privacy and at the same time he shares with his friends so much of life which is meant to be shared. I did not find this in religious life. I realized in 1968 when all the Benedictine abbots met in Rome that the answer was not there. That is why I am here [in Canada]."
John Dean's decision to leave Holy Orders was not an easy one. In fact, everyone with whom this writer has spoken about Dean's decision to leave his religious vocation has characterized that decision as a profoundly and excruciatingly painful one, particularly in light of the changes that were in train during the latter years of the tumultuous 1960s. In short, it appears that Father Bonaventure felt irretrievably and inescapably trapped "between the ocean and the deep blue sea" -- torn on the one hand, believing that the hoped for changes in the Catholic Church would not happen soon and, on the other hand, fearing at the same time that leaving the priesthood, particularly after attaining such an historic and lofty position, could be interpreted as incompetence and failure of another black man, yet again. But as we all know, he did leave and began another, very different chapter of an already eventful life.
John Dean's love of community and living in a community of like-minded souls prompted him to move to Therafields, one of the largest psychoanalytic communes of the 1970s in North America. Therafields, which was located outside Toronto, was a ground-breaking community of lay therapists. Interestingly, almost half of them had also belonged to the Order of St. Benedict and had left the religious life to found a radically new form of communal life. The commune involved individual and group therapy, endeavoring to empower people to explore their lives deeply and sincerely. To live at Therafields, individuals were required to commit to living together honestly and to struggle with the challenging realities of complex human interactions. Therafields seemed to so naturally match the ideal type of communal life John had been envisioning and searching for at the time.
At one point there were over 800 people involved in Therafields. It was an amazing experiment in communal living, organic farming and psychotherapy. John Dean and Ann Cowper Green, a former English teacher and librarian at St. Augustine's College, were married after leaving The Bahamas and settled at Therafields. In 1977, John's and Ann's daughter, Jerusa Lea, was born.
While he was at Therafields, John was hired as the manager of Therafields Farm, which was comprised of 400 acres and included five houses and a renovated barn complex that included dormitories for weekend guests, a large kitchen and dining-room, a loft with a stage, a construction workshop and John's office. During the time that John and Ann lived on the farm, Therafields grew to include a school, a book store, an organic vegetable enterprise, and an arts centre. According to Ken Plotnik, a former schoolmate of John at Saint John's University who had also become a priest, left the priesthood, married and lived at Therafields while John and Ann were there, Therafields "was a vibrant place that attracted young people who were learning to live emotionally, healthy and ecologically respectful, purposeful lives."
Eventually as people and events moved into the new era of the 1980s, which focused more on the more self-centered outlook of an individual's wants and needs and less on the idea of gaining self-fulfillment from working together, Therafields disbanded. In 1984, John and Ann divorced. Ann and Jerusa returned to The Bahamas, where Ann taught at The College of The Bahamas and Jerusa attended St. Andrew's School.
Shortly after leaving Therafields, John married Margaret Weiler. Margaret, a native of Thunder Bay, Canada, had worked in The Bahamas in 1971 for one year as a nun at St. Cecilia's Catholic School. In 1986, Margaret and John had a daughter, Katie Rose.
Also after leaving Therafields, John returned to teaching, this time in the Toronto Catholic School District, as he had done at St. Augustine's many years earlier. Thus began the third chapter of John Dean's life story, a chapter in which he resumed a familiar role -- Roman Catholic school principal. There he worked until his retirement in 2001. Following his retirement from the Catholic School system up to the time of his second bout with prostate cancer, which had first surfaced a decade earlier, John worked as a consultant in the Toronto Catholic School District.
So what conclusions can be derived from the life of the man we first knew as Fr. Bonaventure Dean and later simply as John Dean? Several characterizations are pervasive, regardless of who one talks to. He was a deeply spiritual individual of immense intellect, a life-long Catholic, warm, charming and charismatic, a consummate educator, one who sought through a philosophical and inquiring mind to honestly confront the conflicts in his life, and above all, one who strived to achieve his destiny.
There is more, much more, to this enigmatic person who walked this way and impacted so many lives. His ability to touch lives profoundly is a gift not often seen. His gargantuan intellectual thirst to understand the divine complexities of life, while living a simple and what could be characterized as an old-fashioned life, amongst his brothers and sisters and close to the soil, illustrate a fascinating dichotomy that is unique. His consciousness as a black Bahamian pushing the boundaries of a heretofore white world at a time when the struggles of the black Bahamian were matching those of other men and women of color the world over was also a distinctive part of his character. And his decision to walk away from a position of power and influence in his church and in his country also marks this man as one with an exceptional and extraordinary moral compass that bears much more examination so that future generations of Bahamians can learn from his example, as did so many of his students. The formative years in The Bahamas, as well as the forty-year sojourn in Canada that morphed Fr. Bonaventure once again into John Dean, from priest and educator to husband, father and educator, continue to be a fascinating story which needs to be and will be told in greater depth and detail -- sometime in the not-too-distant future.
As we remember Fr. Bonaventure of an earlier era or John Dean of the recent past in a Memorial Service and Memorial Mass at the Emmaus Centre and St. Anselm's in celebration of his life this Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, his family members, friends, students and acquaintances will take a moment as he admonished us more than forty years ago to "Look around. Think about what you see. Give thanks."
Philip C. Galanis is the managing partner of HLB Galanis & Co., Chartered Accountants, Forensic & Litigation Support Services. He served 15 years in Parliament.
Please send your comments to email@example.com.
Abaco, The Bahamas - St. Francis de Sales Catholic School student
Ashanti Duncanson recites "Junkanoo", during the recent E. Clement
Bethel National Arts Festival adjudications, at the St. Francis de Sales
Church, in Marsh Harbour, Abaco.
FREEPORT, Grand Bahama -- A large number of former and current Freeporters will be returning to the island of Grand Bahama on January 19, 2012 for a reunion.
The group consists of former students of Freeport High School and Grand Bahama Catholic High School, families, and friends who lived in Freeport in the 1960s and 1970s. Oragnizer Diane Lawrence reports there are already 200 plus in the group with over 100 comfirming they will be attending the reunion in Freeport from January 19 to January 22, 2012.
For more information on the Freeport in the Sixties reunion event, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the public Facebook page HERE.