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Remembering ... Bishop Justin Field OP (1899-1969)

Thursday, November 26, 2009
James Field was born near Cheltenham in 1899, and, much to his parents' distress, was received into the Catholic Church at the age of 16. Four years later, he entered the Dominican novitiate at Woodchester, taking the name Justin: he made his profession in 1921. By the time he was ordained a priest in 1926, both his parents had followed him into the Catholic Church.

Following the completion of his studies in 1928, he was sent to Newcastle to work on the parish: here he was able to put to use his great musical talent, playing the organ and direct the choir, which enjoyed considerable renown in the North East of England. On account of such musical skill, Bishop Felix Couturier OP, another English Dominican who became bishop of Alexandria in Canada, the following year asked the Provincial to send Fr Justin to Canada to serve as his private secretary and assist him in improving the standard of liturgy in his diocese. During this time, Fr Justin published a book encouraging the use of plainsong in parishes.

After two years in Canada, Fr Justin was sent to the Province's mission in Grenada, where he was to spend the rest of his life. He developed a great loyalty to the island and its people, and it was fitting that, when the Diocese of St George's, Grenada, was founded in 1957, he should be appointed its first bishop. He received episcopal consecration from Archbishop Finbar Ryan OP, the Archbishop of Port of Spain (Trinidad), where the Irish Dominicans had a mission.

During the following twelve years, the newly founded diocese saw great progress, led by Bishop Justin in his unwavering ambition to spread the Gospel in the island.

He died as he had wished on 4th August (then kept as St Dominic's day) in 1969, aged 70. He was professed 48 years, a priest 42 years, and a bishop 12 years: he was buried in his cathedral in St George's.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him.
May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God,
rest in Peace.

Gregory Pearson O.P.


Anonymous commented on 22-Feb-2016 03:14 AM
What a great gift bishop field is to Grenada. We are reaping the harvest of his labours and sacrifices, as we celebrate 60 years as a diocese and the jubilee year of Mercy. If he had not given his life, the church in Grenada would not have progressed to this level. We all should get up and do our part now. We received ashes today, as a whole diocese in Grenada, proclaiming that we all should repent and cry out to God for mercy. Let us do so, and we will receive graces in abundance and our churches will be full of people who are on fire with the Spirit.

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