Greetings from Jamaica

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I’m here visiting our Franciscan mission at “Above Rocks” in Jamaica.  When most people hear “above rocks” the imagine this beautiful cliff overlooking the sea. Not so. Above Rocks is about an hour drive north of Kingston, the capital in a rural community where the friars serve providing pastoral ministry at a 4 churches and the famous St. Mary’s College in Above Rocks. They also have other tutoring and feeding programs. There’s a medical clinic onsite and one of our friars who is a nurse practitioner also sees patients at hospital in Kingston.

The welcome thus far has been most hospitable. Two of the friars, both Michaels, I have known for about 27 years. God, I’m getting old! Anyways, a third friar, Brad, will be returning tomorrow from a visit to the U.S.  The life both of the people and the friars is quite simple here and there are many challenges for the community to overcome.

One of the most striking things I have noticed in just one day here has been how much the children crave attention from males. There is like in many parts of the world a disconnect between having children and caring for children, especially on the part of the men.  It’s an especially perilous situation for the young boys who struggle to understand what it means to be a man.

I am here with Jonathan Nix who is a candidate in our Franciscan formation programme. He’s interested in doing work as a missionary one day and so we are here together to experience the life and ministry of the friars in Jamaica. I think he’s brought a camera and perhaps we can get some pictures up and running.

It’s early morning, but I’ve been awakened by the terrible but oh so sweet sound of rain. They are desperate for water. I’ll keep you posted as best I can, but can’t promise anything as electricity and internet are not always reliable.

Ok, got to go and get ready for the day. But first, must confront the “cold” shower!