Where We Serve

      The Passionist Volunteers are centralized in Mandeville, Jamaica but serve throughout the surrounding civil parishes of Manchester, Clarendon and Saint Elizabeth. Mandeville is the inland capital of Manchester Parish and is home to 50,000 people. The area is socioeconomically diverse; on one side reside the wealthy small business owners and those returning from abroad, juxtaposed with the surrounding areas and communities existing at or below the poverty line. The geographic area is characterized by the beautiful rolling hills and expansive valleys, with the town of Mandeville perched atop a plateau. This contributes to increased rainfall and the common “cool, cool Mandeville” moniker in reference to its relatively mild climate.

      As for housing, the volunteers are housed near the center of Mandeville.  The living space is comfortable, complete with security measures.  This house quickly becomes a home to the volunteers as the community is nurtured by spirituality nights, family-style meals, personal reflection and boundless conversation.

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What We Do

      The life of a Passionist Volunteer, whether on the job or off, is deeply rooted in the Passionist charism of accompaniment.  Rather than attempt to improve the lives of those we encounter with monetary contributions or donations, the Volunteers seek first to enter into the lives of the individuals and communities that they work with. In working alongside them to experience their joys, struggles, stress and triumphs our Volunteers are then better able to ascertain how their unique gifts and talents might service a need. In approaching their service through this lens a mutual exchange is often fostered and a profound mark is left on both the Volunteers and the communities. Making central to their service the mission of walking with the crucified and suffering of today, our PVI’s are afforded the foundation for genuine relationships through accompaniment.

       That said, the work that the volunteers take part in, their “missions”, is as varied as the landscapes they traverse. From working with youth, down to newborns all the way to the elderly, a Passionist Volunteer walks with all of life’s stages. St. John Bosco, a home and school for disadvantaged, orphaned, abused and neglected boys, has a close relationship with the program. Here volunteers engage in everything from coaching football (soccer in the U.S.), to working with the boys in their trade programs, to spending hours on their playfield to not only have fun but lend a listening ear and support.

      On the other side of the life spectrum is the Manchester Infirmary, a home for the mentally and physically disabled. The halls and porches of the infirmary soon become special places to those volunteers that have been placed there, full of stories and friendships. Working at the infirmary begins with visitations, getting to know the residents and building relationships. However their visits soon progress into an exercise in creativity and compassion, trying to meet the needs of those living there as oftentimes a volunteer may be their only link to the outside world and basic amenities.

      These two areas highlight missions that PVI has been deeply involved with since their move to Mandeville, but the success of the program hinges on the volunteers recognizing the needs of others and reaching out to address them as best they can. This can be through skills or interests they previously held – teaching, or a medical background, for instance.  There are several clinics, schools, and homes for children and adults who cannot care for themselves located throughout the diocese. This allows teachers to continue their trade and nurses or those interested in the medical field to further develop their passions.

      Over the years, examples of our volunteers utilizing their unique gifts and talents to service a need include establishing an HIV support group, a support group for mothers of children with disabilities, homework help programs, various youth groups, communications for the Diocese of Mandeville, implementing community gardens, chicken coop projects, therapy through theater and acting classes, life-skills classes for teenagers and many more.

      A unique aspect of work as a PVI is entrenchment within the communities that are served. While some of our volunteers find their focus in clinics or schools, others serve a multitude of capacities in locally concentrated districts often classified as “bush communities.” The volunteers become a part of these communities, visiting on a regular basis and participating in the everyday lives of the families there. This is where the holistic aspect of PVI becomes most evident.  From starting income-generating projects, to tutoring, to visiting the sick and elderly, to planning youth group meetings that instill confidence and hope in otherwise discouraging situations, the work in these situations simply defies description.  Like their namesake, Saint Paul of the Cross, volunteers live out his mantra “love is ingenious”, seeking out the downtrodden and shouldering their burdens with them, whatever they may be.

     The Passionist Volunteers work in close collaboration with the local Passionist Community, including the Bishop of the Diocese of Mandeville, Most Rev. Neil Tiedemann. Bishop Neil has been instrumental in developing the youth formation of the diocese which the Passionist Volunteers seek to bolster in their everyday encounters with youth throughout the Diocese. In each of their Missions, the volunteers work alongside a “mentor,” or leader within that particular community or locale who provides support and guidance to the volunteer throughout their service.