Jamaica, West Indies Historical Summary

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The Archbishop of Kingston, John J. McEleney, S.J., had visited the Passionist general superior in Rome and requested missionaries for Jamaica. The time had come for a more intensive outreach into the interior of the island, specifically in the civil parishes of Manchester and St. Elizabeth. In April 1955 the Passionists of St. Paul of the Cross Province came to Jamaica, arriving on the feast of our Mother of Sorrows: Fathers Canisius Hazlett, Cormac Shanahan, William Whelan, Anthony Feeherry, and Callistus Connolly.

At first, three of the missionaries resided in Mandeville and worked in Manchester and St. Elizabeth. The other two remained in Kingston to care for the parishes of St. Elizabeth and St. Peter Claver.

A significant milestone in the history of the Passionists in Jamaica was the establishment of Mount Calvary Retreat House in Mandeville in 1973. Its first director, Father Martin J. Tooker, inspired the ministry, which continues today.

In 1975 the Passionists made a very conscious statement about their future in Jamaica when they decided to begin to seek local vocations. This effort bore fruit when native Jamaican Bertram Chin was ordained on June 30, 1991.

The Sisters of the Cross and Passion came in 1985 to work with their Passionist brothers in Mandeville. Their first missionaries were Sisters Bernadette Hughes, Joanne Fahey, and Kathleen Mary Burke.

A week after the ordination of Father Bertram Chin, Father Paul M. Boyle, former superior general of the Passionist Congregation, was appointed as the first bishop of the newly created Apostolic Vicariate of Mandeville on July 9, 1991.

In spite of the shortage of Passionist personnel in Jamaica, the parish, retreat house, grade school, high school, and a new teachers’ training college flourish.

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