Guyana Resource Center
Set like a gem in the crown of South America, nestled on the North-Eastern shoulder, defying the raging Atlantic Ocean, Guyana's many waterways reflect the source of it's name "The Land of Many Waters"
Image hosting by Photobucket Image hosting by PhotobucketKaieteur Falls, the world's highest single drop waterfall (741 feet).Image hosting by Photobucket Image hosting by Photobucket
Google
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Father Grace

From CNY.org
Born in Guyana, the fifth of six children, Father Floyd A. Grace was 3 when his father died. His mother left him and his sister in the care of their grandmother, immigrated to the United States and settled with a relative in New Jersey. Later she became a registered nurse and moved to the Bronx, where her two youngest children joined her in 1981.


Father Floyd A. Grace put himself through Fordham University working in a bank.

By the time he received his degree in computer management information systems, he was a rising star in the accounting department there. Personable, popular and a natty dresser, he dated and fell in love.

Still, he said, "I knew all along, deep inside, that I wanted to become a priest." He couldn't decide--until a conversation between his nephew and a Bronx pastor moved him to act.

Father Grace, 34, is the son of Millicent J. and the late Eric E. Grace. Born in Guyana, the fifth of six children, he was 3 when his father died. His mother left him and his sister in the care of their grandmother, immigrated to the United States and settled with a relative in New Jersey. Later she became a registered nurse and moved to the Bronx, where her two youngest children joined her in 1981. Their parish is Holy Rosary.

As a boy, Father Grace was impressed with a priest who had been a friend of his father's, and with the Jesuits who served his parish.

"To me, the priest was always a person who stood out, who made a difference in the community," he said. In Guyana, he went to Mass often on weekdays and belonged to a prayer group.

In the Bronx he attended Cardinal Spellman High School and joined a prayer group in Queens. After graduation he worked for Manufacturers Hanover Trust, then for the Bank of New York, where he remained following his graduation from Fordham. His Manhattan office was near St. Patrick's Cathedral, and he went to Mass on his lunch hour.

He knew it was time to make a permanent commitment, to follow his heart--but which way? To the priesthood, or into marriage?

"I loved her very much," he said. "At the same time, I wanted to become a priest. I couldn't make up my mind."

Some family members knew he was wrestling with the question of vocation. One day his nephew Vernon Grace, then about 9, went to Mass at Holy Rosary. Msgr. Francis X. Toner, who was then the pastor, asked the boy, "Why doesn't your uncle become a priest?" Vernon replied, "That's what he wants!" and reported the conversation to his uncle. The young banker went to see Msgr. Toner, who told him, "Give it a try." He called St. John Neumann Seminary Residence and broke off his relationship with the young woman.

"It was one of the most painful decisions I've had to make," he said. But he knew it was right because he could not give his heart unreservedly. Still, it was not easy to take the final step and enter Neumann.

"I was so scared, I didn't want to make preparations immediately," he said. He told himself he was going to the seminary only "to give it a try." But even then, he knew he wouldn't give up.

As a seminarian he visited patients at Providence Rest nursing home in the Bronx, the Convent of Mary the Queen in Yonkers and Terence Cardinal Cooke Health Care Center, and taught religion at Holy Spirit parish in the Bronx and St. Peter's in Yonkers. He served summers at Sacred Heart of Jesus parish in Highland Falls.

He noted that a secular career brings challenges, and he encourages young men to put aside their fears and accept the challenge of priesthood.

His goal as a priest is simple: "To bring others to Jesus Christ."