“Latest Happenings in the Diocese of Mandeville” : Featuring PVI!

PVI has recently been featured in Latest Happenings in the Diocese of Mandeville, a publication of the Diocese of Mandeville that provides regular updates to parishes, clergy and laity throughout Manchester, St. Elizabeth and Clarendon.

The article outlines the Passionist Volunteers program, the service that our Volunteers provide, reflections from former PVI’s, and the exciting new phase that PVI is launching to recruit volunteers locally from Jamaican University’s.

Read More!


“The Soundtrack to My Year In Jamaica” by Emma

I adore music. Anything with a good beat and I will be dancing in my seat or on my feet. Music is a major part of the culture here and not surprisingly has been a key part of me personally encountering Jamaica. From gospel to reggae to soca to dancehall, I have been exposed to the local music through many facets of my time here. I hear gospel play from a shop I pass on the way to taxi in the morning, I hear reggae play during my shorter ride to Somerset or my lengthier ride to Santa Cruz, depending on the day. We sing a chorus during morning devotion at the primary school; my new friends play the radio as we walk around Mike Town on a Saturday afternoon, correcting my lyrics as I attempt to speak patois like the dancehall stars. I pass men walking with giant speakers on pushcarts that send jams flowing through town as I walk home at the end of the day and tunes play while my roommates and I cook dinner. There has been a soundtrack playing as I begin my new life in Jamaica and here are a few songs that would make the most played list.

I never had a love for gospel until we only had one CD that worked in the car, Hot Gospel. And hot it was. “Take me as I am” plays as I think of my beginning here. It is my first time traveling and living outside of my home county. The first time living out of my home state. The first time driving on the left side of the road, the first time in many years without school as my focus. I began this journey green as could be and hoping for the best. I have trusted in the Lord and it has paid off. This is the most welcoming place I have ever been to; when I am open, honest and friendly to the people I meet, I am accepted as I am.

“Thank you dear Lord for your blessings on me” Barbara Jones sings as I am reminded daily how much I am blessed with. When a Jamaican is asked how they are their initial response is usually a small word of gratitude for their blessings and living to see another day.  Through every encounter here I am shown how to be truly thankful for life. Worrying and fretting about problems is not the Jamaican way. Trusting in God’s providence through prayer and praise, that is the way.

“Why worry when you can pray” plays as I think of times of uncertainty and exhaustion. Why worry when I am driving without a GPS on my phone, there is always someone on the road that will give me directions. There is no need to stress after a long day when I can come home to comrades that will encourage and strengthen me with their words, similar experiences, and often an offering of fried plantains.

I could not speak on Jamaican music without mentioning the legend, the king, Mr. Marley. “Could you be loved” is playing as I remember that I must let myself be open to love to be able to truly love in return. I listen and realize I must be vulnerable with my roommates, my new family here, and share in their joys and troubles. I learn to cherish the ways I have felt love whether it be small but mighty hugs from my first graders, cooking lessons from a warm grandmother, a woman I visit finally opening up about her hardships and her past, time spent simply being with people and the start of many new relationships.

Finally Chronixx sings “I’m pleased to be chilling in the West Indies, I got the sunshine rivers and trees” and I am reminded of what a beautiful country I find myself in. Whether taking time out to relax at the beach or look up to notice the glorious hills as I walk to visit a friend, I am so very pleased.


By: Emma Hagenauer 15′-16′

Cortney Celebrates Heroes Day in Jamaica!

In the PVI program, we are allotted one day a week for our day off or our rest day, and after figuring out everyone’s schedules with work and the cars, we then chose which day we wanted to consistently keep as our day off.  Out of the eight of us, I am the only one who has chosen Monday as my rest day for the week.  However, this past Monday (October 19th) my seven roommates, along with 98% of the island joined me on my day off to celebrate National Heroes’ Day.  This holiday was completely foreign to me until just a few weeks ago when I started hearing more and more mention of it – kids were getting excited that they got days off from school, adults were looking forward to get a day off from work, and all Jamaicans were open to explaining what the day truly celebrated.  I learned that Heroes’ Day is a day to celebrate the seven heroes of the country – seven Jamaican people who impacted the country in the most positive ways.  Most were involved in politics or they helped in the process of abolishing slavery, but all left a lasting footprint on this beautiful country – something worth celebrating.  


Anyway, I chose to celebrate this holiday with the kids and families in Albion Gully, which is the community (in the gully of a mountain) where I do home visits, an after-school program, and where I hold a weekly youth group.  I rarely get to spend a lot of time with all of the kids together without having a planned agenda so I thought that this holiday would be a great excuse to visit with them and to simply have fun.  Courtney – one of my roommates and close friends – decided to join me too so she could see where and who I was working with so we hopped in our van and needless to say, the adventure began.  The day started off pretty normal – we were happily greeted by the women and kids in the first yard; some of the men proudly explained the different heroes that were being celebrated that day; we shelled some peas and shared laughter with Susan; we did a few more home visits; and then we gathered the kids together to head down to the cave.  The cave is even further into the mountain than the community itself so the kids don’t go there often as it’s a decent walk and could be dangerous if journeyed alone.  However, because there has been so much talk about it the past few weeks, I decided it was time to make a trip there.  It was absolutely wonderful!  It was exciting to see the kids in a new light – they were leading me and I had to put my trust in them.  Needless to say, they tried to trick me and jokingly lead me astray here and there; but they had my back at all times.  At one point, Krissy (one of my favorite little girls) said, “Miss, be careful.  There’s a hole right by your foot and if you step in it, you’ll fall into that cave.  Now I know I’m little and pretty weak, but I would still try to save you and hold on because that’s the right thing to do!”  We didn’t stay too long once the kids realized that the bats were not pleased that we were making their home a little touring ground, but it was still worth the trip.  They then ran back to their homes to get bathed and changed to go on a little outing that I had pre-planned.


While everyone was getting ready, I looked at my phone and saw that I had a missed call.  It turned out that Emma – one of my other roommates whom I was planning to meet up with in her community for a holiday party – suddenly got sick and was no longer able to be in her community.  Court and I brainstormed.  There was no way I wasn’t going to take my kids somewhere after all of the build-up for this trip.  Plus, an outing is a celebration in itself to these kids.  After piling people in the van, we decided to take them to a Heroes’ Day party in Courtney’s community, Brae’s River.  It wasn’t ideal in that it was 45 minutes away, but it was a perfect way for me to see who and where she was working and it solved our predicament so it worked.  When we first arrived, not much was happening as it had just finished downpouring and Jamaicans refuse to go out in the rain, even a slight drizzle.  Eventually, though, we had our kids jumping in the bouncy house and riding what was seemingly the most terrifying “ferris wheel” that I have ever seen.  They were snacking on cotton candy and popcorn and simply being kids.  Even the “toughest” boy cracked a smile and waved as he was at the top of the ferris wheel.  That in itself was enough to make my day.  Time passed and we piled back into the van to head back home.  Surprisingly, this was my favorite part.  Not because we were heading home, but because of what ensued on the way home – everyone was full of sugar and high on energy that we all found ourselves singing to the radio.  As we got closer and closer to home, the singing got louder and louder.  At one point, I turned around to see Little Leo (a two-year-old) along with eight others singing Thinking Out Loud at the top of their lungs with the biggest smiles on their faces.  Tears filled my eyes as joy exploded from our van.  The singing then turned into a game – we would sing and Krissy or Tanisha would yell out things like, “If you had the best day ever, scream yes!” or “If you’ve ever been in love, scream yeah!”  Now, joy was literally exploding from our van – our singing and shrieking could be heard from miles away, I’m sure.  Once we made our way down into Albion Gully (with Courtney’s incredible driving skills), we ended the night with a cookie cake.  Many thank you’s, hugs, and laughter were shared before we finally made our way back home.  Heroes’ Day was a success.  It was a day to celebrate Jamaica’s national heroes; but even more so, it was a day to celebrate my little heroes that I have the privilege of getting to be with throughout this entire year.

Learning Matthew Ch. 7, “God Will Provide” by Caitlin Day

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”

Matthew 7:7-8


God Will Provide


           I’ve been living in Jamaica for roughly two and a half months and I often feel like a broken record. Whether it’s telling my friends and family back home how my life in Jamaica is going or simply during my day to day conversations. For example, phrases like “Good Morning” as I walk into town past the constant flow of children walking to school, or saying “mi soon come” as people in my mission sites recognize me and call for me as I arrive. I would have to say my favorite phrase to say is “wah gwan” which is how I greet someone I know, or saying “lata” to say goodbye, just because I think it makes me look cool.  However, there is one phrase that I have found myself often saying that has nothing to do with daily conversation. “God will provide.”

            God will provide. God has provided for me throughout my life in both big and small ways. During orientation, while attempting to make an icebox cake for a birthday with a fellow community member, it appeared as though we wouldn’t have enough cream to make a cake large enough to feed us all. I remember smacking the table and saying God will provide and all of a sudden the half of cream that we had sectioned off for the second layer of the cake seemed to never stop coming out of the bowl. Or the time when I was making jerk sauce for our community meal and it looked like there was no way that it would be enough sauce to season all of the chicken. I said “God will provide don’t worry,” and there was enough sauce leftover to dip our homemade tortillas in. The time I was making icing for a cake for my youth group and it wouldn’t set, yes you guessed it right, “God will provide” and the icing set. There seems to be a “loaves and fishes” theme in my life where God has provided for me in the kitchen. However, He has also provided for me throughout the emotional rollercoaster that has been my first two and a half months in Jamaica.

            When I was nervous about beginning work in my church community or actually getting kids to show up for my youth group, God provided. God provided me with members of the church that welcomed me with open arms and accompanied me to my other mission sites. He also provided me with more youth than I was expecting and youth that I couldn’t imagine not having in my life now.  As I patiently (or not so patiently) waited for my temporary Physical Therapy license to be approved so that I could fully begin at my mission sites, God provided. God provided me with the opportunity to get to know my patients on a more personal level and see what their needs truly are. The day that I cried practically the entire hour taxi ride home, God provided. God provided community members that listened, that cared, that shared God’s love, and that lifted me up. The day that a few of us went to the beach for some much needed R&R and the forecast called for rain, God provided. God provided rain for those in the local communities that very much needed it during this drought and kept the little area of the beach that we were on as dry as could be. God provides the most spectacular views of the whole valley as I travel down Spur Tree road to my mission sites and amazing sunsets from the comfort of the couch every evening. God provides gorgeous smiles and beautiful singing voices as I try to surprise new friends at the Infirmary. God provides laughter and energy as I get to know my youth every week.

Most of all, God provides comfort and joy as I continue on this new journey in life.

Top 10 Things I’ve Learned Since Being In Jamaica by Ross Boyle 15′-16′