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Catholics throughout Belize are mourning the death of their Bishop, His Excellency Lawrence Sydney Nicasio, who died on New Year’s Day.

FeaturesCatholics throughout Belize are mourning the death of their Bishop, His Excellency Lawrence Sydney Nicasio, who died on New Year’s Day.

Catholic Bishop of Belize, Lawrence Nicasio
From: May 13th, 2017
To: January 1st, 2024

By: Wellington C. Ramos

Tues. Jan. 2, 2024

Bishop Lawrence Sydney Nicasio was born to Reuben and Jane Lewis-Nicasio on September the 5th, 1956, in Dangriga Town. In his early years he attended Sacred Heart Primary School. In school and the Commerce Street community where Bishop Nicasio grew up, he was loved by all his family and friends because he always had a smile on his face and was a kind-hearted person to all. Everybody in his family, the neighborhood and Dangriga Town called him, “Larry”, the shortened form of the name “Lawrence”.

After he graduated from Sacred Heart Primary School, he transferred to Austin High School and then Belize Teacher’s College. Bishop Nicasio started teaching at various Catholic primary schools after he graduated from these institutions. He was appointed Director of all the Catholic schools in Toledo District, and then later on, he decided to commit his life to the Catholic Church by being ordained as a Deacon in 1988.

Bishop Lawrence Nicasio enrolled at Cardinal Glennon College in Saint Louis, Missouri, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy. He completed Theological Studies at Saint Louis University, where he received his Master of Divinity Degree. Then, Bishop Nicasio was ordained a Catholic priest on Sunday, June 16th, 1989, and officiated his first mass on June 18, 1989, in Dangriga Town. His first assignment was on August the 25th, 1989, to Our Lady of Guadalupe Roman Catholic Church in Belmopan. As a priest, Bishop Lawrence Nicasio also served at Saint Martin De Porres Church and Saint Ignatius Church in Belize City. Bishop Nicasio was ordained as the second Garifuna and Belizean Bishop for the Catholic Church on May the 13th, 2017, after his relative, the late Bishop Osmond P. Martin.

As a priest and bishop throughout all the churches and communities in which Bishop Nicasio travelled and served, he was loved by all those who knew and interacted with him. As a Garifuna person he committed himself to the Garifuna 19th of November celebration masses that are held throughout Belize and in the cities in the United States where many Garifuna people live, like Los Angeles and New York City.

A couple years ago, the family and friends of Bishop Lawrence Nicasio were told that he would be leaving Belize to undergo treatment for cancer in Saint Louis, Missouri, in the United States. Most of his family members and friends were not aware of how severe his cancer was. Yet, most of his family and friends kept inquiring about his treatment and progress from his close relatives.

Recently, Bishop Nicasio returned to say a Christmas Mass for his people in Dangriga Town. When I saw him sitting in a wheelchair, I was saddened, and it even brought tears to my eyes. He was not the same Bishop Nicasio I knew as a smiling person, vibrant and full of energy.

I just kept praying to our Almighty Father to continue to grant him life. On New Year’s Day, January the 1st, 2024, when I got up and saw the announcement on Facebook about my relative and friend’s death, it was like a dagger piercing through my heart.

I will never forget this day the longest I live. I do not know what type of pain and suffering my relative and friend had been going through for all these years. God knows better, and now he is in a place where all the pain and suffering will no longer be endured by him. Rest In Peace until we meet again, Bishop “Larry”. We will always love and never forget you.

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