Diary of the Ghetto Priest | 36 years of the Missionaries of the Poor! 6 years of Sisters of the Poor
Today, I visited with the Missionaries of the Poor Sisters. Did you know that we have a women's order of Sisters? They are at 13-15 Heroes Circle, Kingston at the Holy Innocent Centre. Their telephone numbers are 948-5775 and 967-1530. These sisters are marvellous women. We founded them in the year 2011, March 27. I am a happy father or grandfather of 550 brothers and 36 sisters.
These sisters have a home in Jamaica and Kampala, Uganda. Everywhere in the world, the sisters, the brothers, and the priests are known as "the Jamaican brothers, sisters, and priests". I believe they are considered Jamaican because the founding houses, or mother houses, are in Jamaica. Jamaica is the place where these foundations are laid. It is where the bishops - Archbishop Samuel Carter for the brothers and Archbishop Charles Dufour for the sisters - allowed us to be incardinated.
Now, the brothers and priests are pontifical. We are thus under Rome, though Jamaica is still the mother house, the place where as founder, I began Missionaries of the Poor (MOP). The sisters also will always be the Jamaican sisters, the place where I founded the Missionaries of the Poor Sisters years ago.
Now, Brother Anil and the counsellors. They are newly in charge and they are from different countries: the Very Rev Brother Anil Minj, from India; the Rev Brother Marc Maurice and the Rev Brother Louima Israel, Haiti; the Rev Brother Joseph Ssali, Uganda. But Jamaica remains the mother house of both male and female wings of MOP.
In Jamaica, though not a Catholic country, people, for the 36 years of our existence, have supported our MOP religious, consecrated with four vows of poverty, chastity, obedience, and free service to the poorest and most forgotten of people in our island.
Jamaicans give tremendous support to our evangelical production of art, music, drama, and Christo-centric stories from the Bible, and the daily struggles of Jamaicans finding their life tough in the ghetto (Ruby, Sugar Cane, Amazing Grace).
These musical dramas, concerts, operas, or stories have brought in many thousands of people each year, lifting the hearts of people to God while helping to provide the sustenance of our finances each year in Jamaica.
Delighted to be used by God
In 1971, the year of my ordination to the priesthood, I began taking seriously the work of the Holy Spirit, which used me to write music. I am not a learned musician, I can't write or script music, I play no instrument, and I have no voice for singing. But God, with His great sense of humour, gave me the ability to compose songs, to write productions, to surround myself with extraordinary talented Jamaicans - musicians, and performers.
Thus, Christ is brought to the people through all this art in keeping with Saint Pope John's call for the new Evangelization.
I am delighted to be used by God. I am not worthy to be the founder of Missionaries of the Poor brothers and priests and sisters. But God has used earthen vessels before, and now He has used me.
Our brothers have opened other foundations overseas - in Haiti, Cap Haitian and Santo Port of Prince; in India - Warangal and Roukela; in the Philippines - Manila, Naga, and Cebu; in Kampala - Uganda; in Kenya - Nairobi; in Flores, Indonesia; in East Timor; in Monroe - North Carolina.
Yes! Today, I offered mass for the sisters at 13-15 Heroes Circle. I told them the stories of struggle over the years - the struggle to form our men, to live a life of sacrifice and holiness, to pay our bills, to care for the destitute of dying.
I visited the little cripples, the kids without feet or hands, the little kids who are hydroce-phalic, and the elderly home-less and destitute women.
Yes! Yes! Yes, Lord! Thank you for using me and all of us to be a servant of the homeless and destitute - the least of our brothers and sisters. May God be blessed for his kindness!