The first cardinal from the English-speaking Caribbean was in the Greater Toronto Area recently visiting family members and reconnecting with old acquaintances.
Kelvin Felix, who studied at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia as a newly ordained priest, also presided over mass at Prince of Peace Roman Catholic Church in Scarborough.
Dominican-born Felix, who was appointed the Archbishop of Castries in 1981, retired from active duty six years ago and moved back to Dominica.
“While we recognize and appreciate that you have spent over 30 years in St. Lucia, we feel that you have never left Dominica,” Frances DelSol, Dominica’s trade & investment commissioner in Canada, told Felix at a reception after the mass. “Dominica and St. Lucia are actually one family. We share many gems together and you are just one of them. We get along very well and it’s really amazing that it is products like yourself that bring citizens of both islands into one community.”
Felix and 18 other prelates were inducted into the College of Cardinals last February. Pope Francis made the selections.
“We ask you that when you see the Holy Father next, ask him to pray for our community here in Canada, bring peace to our community, bridge the gaps that seem unbridgeable, rekindle relationships that seem hopeless and help mend broken families,” DelSol requested.
In his 81st year, Felix is one of three cardinals who are over the age of 80 and therefore are ineligible to vote in a conclave. The pope uses such nominations to recognize religious leaders for their scholarship or other service to the church.
One of nine children, Felix completed a Master’s at Notre Dame and graduate studies in anthropology at the University of Bradford in England. He was also a Catholic high school principal and associate general secretary of the Caribbean Conference of Churches before becoming an archbishop 33 years ago.
He returned to Dominica last week.