History of PVI
Passionist Volunteers International emerged from the Provincial Chapter of the Passionist Community,1998, reaching out to new ventures. It took the form of an International Passionist Volunteer Ministry, making pastoral and social service outreach in cross-cultural overseas settings accessible to lay collaborators.
Broad consultation and extensive planning launched a fine quality program in 2003. Responding to an invitation by Archbishop Edgerton Clarke of Kingston, Jamaica, the Passionists commissioned the first PVIs September 14, 2003, for service in Stony Hill. From 2003 to 2010 thirty-one PVIs served in four mission communities of Immaculate Conception Church, Stony Hill: Mount Friendship, King Weston, Toms River and Devon Pen.
On August 22, 2005, we expanded PVI service, commissioning five to serve in Honduras. Through 2011, twenty-five PVIs served in Casa Pasionista, a residence for AIDS sufferers, and in the Parish Church of Talanga and its surrounding mission communities.
Sharing Faith and spirituality in community has been central to PVI’s life and service. From the start, however, accompaniment would be the motivating and identifying characteristic.
Always, both in Honduras and Jamaica, our primary focus: to accompany the suffering and walk with the poor.
With that focus in mind, amazing accomplishments have emerged. In Jamaica: mentoring on sports fields and in classrooms; creating libraries; normalizing legal public status with over three hundred birth certificates obtained for people remote from governmental systems.
In Honduras: assisting Eucharistic ministers with Sunday morning visits to the sick; guidance for street children, coordination of efforts against domestic violence, facilitating families in securing materials and the process for constructing 400 latrines needed in remote aldeas. The PVIs initiated the impressive, El Comedor Infantil, a collaborative lunch program for under-nourished children.
In 2010 a variety of concerns compelled a reorganization of PVI. Part One called for a transition in Jamaica from Stony Hill, Kingston to Mandeville, the center of Passionist Jamaica mission service since 1955. Part Two, a far more heartrending decision, was PVI’s withdrawal from Talanga and Casa Pasionista.
The move to Mandeville happily brought surprising new life and energy to PVI. Identified more visibly with the Passionist Community and under the enthusiastic encouragement of Bishop Neil Tiedemann, C.P., PVI’s service is more diverse and widespread than previously. Service includes: parish assistance and youth ministry, health care clinics, attending homes for the aged and infirm, coaching and mentoring in schools as well as in Diocesan institutions caring for at risk youth and children with special needs.