Care for Kingston


Our Lady of the Angels Parish seems to have had its future caretakers — the Claretians — in mind when it was named because…the Claretian presence at this Jamaican parish has been nothing short of angelic. In an area fraught with poverty, where people live among the garbage dumps and struggle with violence and drug abuse, the Claretians offer refuge in programs that foster hope. Last year, two young people in the parish traveled to World Youth Day in Germany, where they gathered with 800,000 youths from 190 countries. “I no longer look at young people as the ‘church of tomorrow,’” says Marvin, 21, who went on the trip. “I now believe that in order for the existence of a church of tomorrow, we as young people must act today. The Claretians went to extremes to make this trip possible.”

And when the children at the Claretian parish of Our Lady of the Angels called out for help, they received it. Father Tom McGann, C.M.F. let his fellow Claretians at the offices of the National Shrine of St. Jude and Claretian Publications in Chicago know that the school children in his corner of Jamaica were in desperate need of nutrition--for their minds. The school had no library to speak of and had sustained damage from the hurricane, so funds were depleted, that all changed when Claretian employees got involved. The simple request for books resulted in an outpouring of support resulting in more than 2 tons of books, as well as crayons, paper, pencils, flash cards, and educational children’s games being sent to Jamaica.

The risks the Claretians take to bring the sacraments to Jamaica’s poor are offset by the rewards they find in giving themselves over to those in need. “Our work here is not easy,” says Father Tom Joyce, C.M.F. “But we know that we are supported by people who care back home, and that we share not only our hope, but their hope too, for alleviation of suffering here in Jamaica.”

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