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 priest.
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.

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Monsignor Michael Flanagan, SP
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Last updated 1/29/2004 T. Puccio