Dear Friend of the Passionist,
Spring is a season of rebirth, of coaxing new life from dormant ground. The process of renewal, bringing hope to the challenging lives of the poor, the lonely, the elderly and young people at risk is vital to our mission as Passionists. And this spring, as they do throughout the entire year, our priests, brothers and laity, are working constantly to renew the lives of individuals and families throughout the United States and Canada, Haiti, Jamaica, West Indies, and Honduras.
In this season of renewal, and rebirth, I want to tell you specifically about the work of the Passionists in one of our mission sites, Jamaica, West Indies, and encourage you to consider how you might be able to support our efforts.
In Kingston, one of the poorest areas in Jamaica, St. Elizabeth Catholic Church was one of the first missions assigned to the Passionists upon their arrival in Jamaica in 1955. It is located in an inner city setting. The neighborhood has a high rate of crime and drug abuse. Our members seek a sanctuary in which to worship and be at peace with Christ and to follow his teachings.
It is our mission, “To nurture each other in faith as we commit ourselves to serve and to tell others about Christ through the Eucharist.” In response to the gospel’s call for rightfulness and empathy, we reach out to all those in need, and we support each other by sharing time, talents, and treasures.
With your support and faithfulness, we can continue to provide a positive influence on the local neighborhood. Our pastor Father Richard Award, C.P. and parish members have a challenging schedule to reduce the crime rate and make the area safer. As long as Saint Elizabeth’s is in existence, the people can feel out of harm’s way.
Attached to the church is a basic school for the little ones in the neighborhood. It offers a safe haven for the children as well as a good quality foundation for their later education. Each day the students receive a nutritional lunch, and have recreational activities with their peer groups.
Our priests and religious are bombarded with requests for food, medicine and scholarships for the children who attend the “Early Childhood Institution,” which consists of little children eager to learn the basics of math, reading and writing in a Christian setting. This school is situated next to our Saint Elizabeth’s Church.
In Mandeville, Jamaica, our priests and brothers minister in an infirmary mostly for indigent elderly. The residents need personal supplies. As jobs are very scarce, as a Church community we try to help the poor that come to our door. Thank you for helping us to do that.
"For the poor will never cease to be in the land; therefore I command you, saying, 'You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land.'. Deuteronomy 15:11
Our Passionist International Volunteers are also in Mandeville, Jamaica. Four young people have given up one year of their lives, away from their families and their homes to live with the local people. A community garden has been set up near one of the schools where a volunteer works with autistic and special needs children, teaching them about the different vegetables grown in the garden. This is a beautiful place for a communal gathering. Another one of our volunteer’s visits a community very spread out in the bush, known as Morgan’s Forest. This is where he spends time with the families at their community church. A church, full of love and energy radiates through song and religious fervor.
The Passionists priests and brothers travel to areas where people find it difficult to see the blessing in all their toil. This is why we come to you for help. Some people just happen to live in countries with few natural resources and are surrounded by poverty and corruption through events outside their control. This is where your generosity can make a difference in the lives of people.
I hope I have expressed my gratefulness to you for your unending support. As we move forward in this journey together, please remember and pray for our brothers and sisters in need. And please know that we are forever praying for your spiritual and physical well-being.
We thank you for your past generous donations. We pray that you find it in your heart to continue to help.
Gratefully yours in Christ,
Father Edward L. Beck, C.P.
Treasurer and Development Office