By Marion Ali
Belize’s first-born Bishop, Osmond Peter Martin (retired), passed away Thursday morning at his house in Dangriga. He had been ailing for a while, and had been suffering from a back injury for several years, which caused him to depend on his walking stick.
Bishop Martin, who was 86, submitted his resignation to the Vatican in December of 2007, having reached the mandatory retirement age of 75 at the time.
He led the Diocese since 1984, when he succeeded Bishop Robert Hodapp, S.J.
In September of the same year, the late Bishop Martin received the highest national award during honours conferred on Belizeans. The bishop received the Order Of Belize and a silver jubilee Mass was held in his honor to celebrate his 25th anniversary as Diocesan Bishop of Belize.
Osmond Peter Martin was born on December 4, 1930 in Dangriga, where he received his primary level education, before moving on to St. John’s College in Belize City, and Cardinal Glennon College and Kenrick Seminary. He was ordained a priest on April 3, 1959 in Dangriga.
The late bishop has served as Associate Pastor in Corozal; Pastor in San Ignacio; and was appointed Vocational Director in 1975; Director of Diocesan Schools and Chancellor of the Roman Catholic Diocese in 1980. He was named Administrator of Holy Redeemer Cathedral in 1981 and appointed Auxiliary to Bishop Hodapp in 1982.
He was consecrated Bishop on October 7, 1982 and installed as Bishop of Belize City and Belmopan on May 11, 1984.
Osmond Peter was the son of Justin and Cleofa Martin. In an interview on the occasion of his 50th anniversary as a priest seven years ago, the late bishop said: “It is just through the inspiration of God – that is the reason why they call vocation a calling. It is through God’s inspiration that I made that very difficult decision.”
Many parishioners in the Catholic faith loved and admired Bishop Martin for his friendly ways and for his ability to deliver captivating sermons with fervor.