Diocese of Mandeville, Jamaica, West Indies
On the feastday of Our Lady of Holy Hope, July 9, 1991, the Apostolic
Vicariate of Mandeville was established.
Bishop Paul Michael Boyle, C.P. was ordained bishop, as the first Apostolic
Vicar. In November, 1997, the Vicariate was raised to the status of a diocese
with Bishop Boyle appointed to head the new diocese. The diocese is located
in south central Jamaica and includes the three civil jurisdictions (called
parishes) of Clarendon, Manachester, and St. Elizabeth. The Diocese covers
about 1,300 square miles, of a half million people. Catholics constitute
1.4% of the number or 7,000 although there are indications that others
were baptized as Catholics, but, due to lack of priests, joined other churches.
This proportion of Catholics is very low; however, the two thousand seven
hundred Catholics (2,700) or forty-one percent (41%) who regularly practice
their faith offer a solid basis for gratitude and hope.
The Diocese of Mandeville is mostly rural.
Social structures, such as health facilites, running water and public transportation
are not readily available. In the rural areas public transporation is poor
at any time, but on Sunday, it is non-existant. It is not uncommon for
the faithful to walk three or more miles on the way to Mass. Economically,
Jamaica is the third poorest nation in the Caribbean, and this poverty
is particularly pervasive in the rural areas. The three civil parishes
comprising the Diocese of Mandeville are not tourist areas. Bauxite mining
is the main industry. Small farming is the second largest source of income,
consisting of vegetables, coffee, citrus fruits and spices. Thus, the average
Sunday collection in most of the parishes is approximately $US20 and in
the smaller parishes $US8.00.
Presently, only nine of the church communities have housing for the parish
Monies are urgently needed to provide three elementray schools
Many children terminate their education after sixth grade. Enrollment in
each of the Diocese secondary schools is at a maximum, and the facilities
must be expanded to meet the needs.
Contact Monsignor Flanagan
or U.S. Mail
Monsignor Michael Flanagan, SP
5102 NW 1st Ave
Deerfield, Fl 33064