By Rev Canon Sebastian Campbell
THIS Friday, November 30, a service of thanksgiving will be held at the Parish Church of Christ the King Ridgeland Park West to mark the official retirement from the sacred priesthood by James E Palacious, Archdeacon in the Anglican Diocese of the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Archdeacon Palacious has served actively as a priest in the Diocese for 42 years, having been ordained in 1976. At the time of his retirement he is the Archdeacon for Administration in the Diocesan Office, assisting the Bishop in administration.
A native of Matthew Town, Inagua, Archdeacon Palacious has walked a long and memorable road to this point in his life.
It is a road that saw him leaving his beloved home town, which as boy was a thriving settlement with a large population working in the salt industry. But it was a necessary first step in his life’s journey that saw him sailing on the old Air Pheasant to travel to Nassau to pursue the then cherished goal of receiving a high school education at St John’s College. The journey on the Air Pheasant was itself an adventure, leaving Matthew Town late on Fridays, stopping along the way and arriving in Nassau on Sunday morning.
The young Jimmy Palacious was then following in the steps of several of his older siblings who attended St Johns’ College. In Nassau, the Palacious brothers lived in the Englerston/Coconut Grove area, then a newly developing suburb. They resided with an uncle, Felton Collie, and his family, in very tight quarters; but it was the way life was in those days.
Jimmy was an outstanding student at St John’s College. He was quick to make friends, and today after all the years, he still counts Philip “Brave” Davis, Halston Moultrie, now the Speaker of the House of Assembly, and Rufus Johnson (now deceased) among his closest friends.
On completion of St John’s College, young Jimmy entered the world of work as a clerk for Deltec Banking, but after a year he switched to being an assistant teacher at the newly established Ridgeland Primary School. But his real calling was to test his vocation to enter the sacred ministry as an ordained priest. This was a natural calling for a boy who grew up in St Philip’s Church in Inagua and then attended Christ the King while in Nassau.
He was selected by then Diocesan Bishop Bernard Markham to test his vocation at Kelham Theological College in England. After a year of studies in the UK, he entered Codrington College/UWI in Barbados (1971-75) and was the first person to receive a First Class Honours Degree in Theology from Codrington College and the University of the West Indies. Later in his educational and professional formation, he attended Princeton Theological College in Princeton, New Jersey, and Drew University, also in New Jersey.
He is proud of his educational achievements, which include the Bachelor of Arts, a Masters of Arts and a Masters of Philosophy from the various institutions of the higher education that he attended.
Jimmy Palacious was ordained a deacon in the Anglican Church in 1975 and a priest in 1976, in his home church of St Philip’s, Inagua.
His active ministry in the priesthood saw him serving as Diocesan Youth Officer; Bishop Eldon’s Chaplain; priest-in-charge of St Bartholomew’s in the Berry Islands, as well as of St Patrick’s Governor Harbour, St Gregory’s in New Providence (he was the first rector of the parish); rector of St Matthew’s Nassau (1988-2004), a position he held jointly with his duties as Archdeacon of the Southern Bahamas (1992-1996).
It is of note that while Rector of St Mathews, he was able to encourage a number of young men and women to enter the sacred ministry, including Rev Willish Nottage Johnson, one of few female priests serving in the Diocese. In 2004, he became the Archdeacon for Administration in the Diocesan Office. He served under two Diocesan Bishops in this capacity, Archbishop Drexel Gomez and current Diocesan Bishop Laish Boyd.
In 1981, Father Palacious married Angela Bosfield, who holds the distinction of being the first woman to have been ordained to the sacred priesthood in the Bahamas. The couple have a son, Carlos, who is a civil engineer and married to Anastacia, and one granddaughter, Cairo Aria.
Despite his busy life as a senior churchman, Archdeacon Palacious has always found time to give back in service to the community and the greater society. He has served on numerous public boards; he is first vice president of the Bahamas Christian Council, and is also a keen Rotarian.
As an amateur vocalist with a fine tenor voice, he has recorded several CDs which he has sold to raise funds for various causes, most particularly to assist with the rebuilding of St Philip’s in Inagua and his alma mater, St John’s College. To date, he has raised more than $110,000 for St Philip’s, and $25,000 for St John’s College. At his retirement, he has asked that in lieu of gifts to him, donations be made to St Philip’s, St John’s College, St Anne’s School and Codrington College, Barbados.
Now that he is officially retiring as a full-time priest, Archdeacon Palacious will be able to find more time for his various hobbies, which include fishing and travelling. He will continue to serve in the Diocese in various pastoral capacities as called upon by the Bishop.