St. Thomas More Catholic Church celebrates 100 years
With occasional Mass here and there, that is, whenever priests from Kingston become available, Catholic faithfuls in May Pen set about establishing a place of worship, and in 1914, the late Storks DeRoux opened his parents' home to the growing congregants.
A year later, Bishop John Joseph Collins, the fifth Vicar Apostolic of Jamaica, dedicated the Blessed Thomas More and laid the cornerstone for what was to become the St Thomas More Catholic Church and later, the addition of the St Thomas More Preparatory School. One hundred years later, the May Pen-based spiritual centre has evolved as the parish's pre-eminent worship and learning centre.
"The centenary of a church in any parish marks a very important milestone in its history. It is a time for celebration not only for the church itself, but for the whole community," commented Father Xavier in his homily at the recent centenary celebration at the church's Convent Avenue location in May Pen.
"We owe a deep debt of gratitude to those who laid the foundation a hundred years ago," Father Xavier added.
He said the centenary celebrations would give an opportunity to give thanks to the Almighty God for the gift of the parish with a "solemn thanksgiving Mass and an opportunity to manifest our solidarity and unity as a parish community".
Pointing to the theme of the centenary celebrations, which is, 'Refreshed, Renewed and Strengthened to Continue the Journey to Build God's Kingdom', he said the entire parish community should express its solidarity by partaking in all the upcoming events of the year-long celebration.
"I am happy to note that this year of the centenary celebrations, we shall be undertaking a number of spiritual and cultural activities during the course of the year," he asserted.
Father Xavier was making reference to a planned pre-Valentine dinner in February, the Feast Day's Celebration, and the re-dedication Mass on June 21.