Safe Home, Reverence!

By Fr. Ambrose MacKinnon, SFM
April 2001

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In 1966 I replaced Scarboro missionary Fr. Rollie Roberts in Georgetown on the island of St. Vincent, West Indies. At that time, Fr. Hugh MacDougall, another Scarboro missioner, was pastor in the city of Mesopotamia and invited all the Scarboro priests for dinner one Wednesday night. That afternoon it began to rain. I arrived at Fr. Hugh’s to find that none of the others were coming, and for a good reason. When it rained there were lots of landslides.

Fr. Hugh and I sat down to supper and I decided to spend the night. It rained non-stop, and the next day all roads were closed due to the possibility of landslides. By Saturday the roads were still closed so I told Fr. Hugh that I would have to walk back as I had a wedding in the town of Colonaire that afternoon.

Fr. Hugh drove me as far as he could and roared with laughter as I went walking with a knapsack on my back and a sailor’s hat on my head.

When I was passing through the village of Lowmans a woman came running towards me and called out, “Hey mista, what ya selling?” I answered, “Nothing.”

“Who are you?” she asked.

“I’m the priest in Georgetown,” I replied.

Her answer was, “Safe home Reverence.”

Continuing out to the Windward Highway, along came a tractor hauling a wagon. I waved the driver down and crawled onto the back of the tractor. As we were going along I looked back and saw a truck approaching. They were friends of mine so I shouted to the tractor driver to slow down. He did and I jumped off and got in the truck with my friends who drove me to the rectory in Georgetown. I was covered with mud and the cook looked at me and he too roared with laughter asking, “Where were you?”

Fr. Hugh told me the roads were opened shortly after I left his place. I returned Fr. Hugh’s sailor hat the next time we were together.

Fr. Ambie MacKinnon left St. Vincent in 1974 to work in the Bahamas. He is pastor of Mary Star of the Sea parish in Freeport.

Scarboro missionary honoured
Fr. Ambrose MacKinnon

In 1999 Fr. Ambie MacKinnon was made a Monsignor by Archbishop Lawrence Burke of the archdiocese of Nassau in the Bahamas.

Fr. Ambie accepted this honour on behalf of all Scarboro missioners who have served in the Bahamas since Scarboro first went there in 1954.

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