by Simon Pantin (Nephew) at
on Saturday, March 18, 2000.
On behalf of the rest of the Pantin Family, I should like to welcome
you all here this morning and to thank you for the tremendous outpouring of sympathy,
concern and support that we, as a family, have experienced and witnessed over the past
week. Your love, respect and admiration for
our late Archbishop has been truly touching and we appreciate all of the gestures that we
have seen and received. May God Bless you
So much has been said about His grace over the past few days, that it
is hard to attempt to add anything. How does
one describe this disciple of Jesus? Perhaps,
he defies description, or more correctly, perhaps the best description is arrived at by
doing what he did, and listening to the stories told by others, and told to us by people
For family members in his generation, he remained known, throughout
his life, simply as Tony. For those in my own
generation, he was known most often as Uncle Tony and this simplicity, this manner of not
clinging to office or to status, was arguably his most endearing quality, he was a man for
all people. Over the past few days, we have
met several people both at Archbishops House, as well as here on the promenade and
the one sentiment that we heard so very often was He was MY
Bishop. In reality, this was in fact a
trademark of his life. He gave himself, in
service, to each person that he encountered.
His greeting and fatherly hugs were never superficial. He remembered faces and names better than anyone
else that I have every known and what was truly remarkable about him was that he also
remembered the conversations that he had had with each person. He took the time to listen and would always extend
himself to help. He was OUR
His grace was often known for his promotion of Family Life and for
his many sermons on, and in defense of, Family Life.
What many did not know was that Uncle Tony was speaking from personal
experience. He was truly committed to the
creation of a sense of family in our community and this was reflected in his approach to
his own family. Nothing was more important to
It is sometimes hard to imagine that someone who had given his life
in service to the Lord could be considered a family man, but that was exactly what he was. He remained, throughout his life, deeply concerned
about his immediate family (brothers, sisters, and while she was still alive, his dear
mother), and was always extremely interested in the lives of his nieces and nephews and
their own children.
Mrs Pantin celebrates with her children after she received
a Papal Award in 1991. His Grace is at left.
He was often among the first to arrive at the annual Pantin family
lunch on Boxing Day and always made time to ask about the younger ones, their progress in
school, and where applicable, their boyfriends or girlfriends. One knew that his schedule was packed with things
to do, but he always made time to be with his family. It was one of his top priorities.
As the family grew, the large gatherings became a source of great
importance and pleasure to us, and Uncle Tony remained a key figure and focal point.
He enjoyed his visits abroad and always felt blessed if his meetings
allowed him to visit with his late brother in Miami or with his two sisters who had
migrated to England in the mid-1960s. Many
of you may recall the fondness with which he described these visits in his diarized
accounts in the Catholic News.
One concrete example of the way that he reached out to people was
related to me on Thursday night after the Official Funeral service. As I was leaving the Cathedral, a gentleman came
forward to offer his condolences. I thanked
him for his wishes and for coming to the service. He
then explained to me, I had to come. When
my own son died a few years ago, the Archbishop called me at home to express his own
condolences. I was touched when I found out
that he had called from abroad. He was not
even in the country, but when he heard the news, he immediately called Trinidad to get my
number and then called me to offer his sympathy.
Anthony Pantin was a true Patriot.
He remained true to West Indian Cricket; West Indian unity, and Regional
issues facing the Caribbean communities at large, but his true passion was the citizenry
of Trinidad & Tobago.
He cared deeply about this Nation and the future that we are
providing for our children and our childrens children. He was very concerned about the loss of values
among the youth of our country and was especially pleased to be able to host
the weekly Prayer Meetings of the Living water Community as it gave him the opportunity to
attend, if only for a little while and to listen to the issues that were presented to him
as he mingled among those gathered.
He particularly enjoyed the Life in the Spirit Seminars that were
held at these meetings as this was a further chance to stay in touch with the questions
that were burning in most peoples hearts.
His sense of humour was legendary and while many knew that his so
called jokes would lengthen the Masses that he said, they were always topical. Even his twists of the English Language and local
forms of expression pertained to the matters at hand.
Often when he was about to embark on a journey abroad, he would quote the
passage in a little while you will not see me, and in a little while you will
see me. As he prepared to leave
for his last surgical operation just after the March for Jesus, he promised
that upon his return he would give us all his gut reaction, This joy and zeal for
life, often gave him the
strength to keep going, even when he was in obvious pain, for as a true disciple, he had
to be about his Fathers business.
Father, we thank You for the gift of our late Archbishop, for his
life and for his example, as we prepare to celebrate the Holy Mass, we recall that Uncle
Tony often said how much it meant to him to be able to celebrate Mass and that this was
his greatest joy here on earth. Receive him
into Your Kingdom, and grant us the strength to learn from his example, to embrace life
and to see Jesus in everyone that we encounter each day.