Sacred Heart Church

St. Robert Bellarmine Parish

In April of 1998, with the approval of our Parish Council and Finance Council, Msgr. Stan Carson notified Bishop Paul Boyle of the Diocese of Mandeville of our willingness to enter into a “twinning or sister” parish relationship with Saint Robert Parish in Chapelton, Jamaica. Our parish’s decision was part of a diocesan initiative to “twin” with a Mission diocese.

The Diocese of Mandeville is in the south-central part of Jamaica. According to Bishop Paul Boyle, the first Bishop of Mandeville, “Jamaica is the poorest nation in our hemisphere after Haiti and his Diocese is the poorest part of Jamaica.” Bishop Boyle retired on July 6, 2004. The average Sunday collection in most parishes ranges between $8.00 to $12.00.

At the time the decision was made, our twinning relationship was to last for a period of three to five years. The reason for setting a time-frame, with the possibility of renewal, was so future pastors and parish advisory councils would have the freedom to decide whether or not to continue the relationship or to decide to support another parish or need within the Diocese of Mandeville.

In addition to prayer, our parish provides financial support through the use of a monthly envelope and occasional special collections.

Msgr. Carson visited the Diocese of Mandeville with diocesan delegations in January of 1998 and in May of 1999. The following members of our parish traveled to Mandeville in June of 2005: Dee Burchfield, Marian Carey, Maggie Dodson, Patricia Foose, Ashley Keefe, Cathy Keefe, Ray Keefe, Dan Milliron, Debbie Milliron, Rebecca Milliron, Sarah Milliron, Liz Neff, Josh Stultz, Andrew Zeak, and David Zeak. They were accompanied by Sister Patti Rossi, Diocesan Director of Foreign Mission Outreach. The 2005 group spent eight days working and living among the poor in Saint Robert Bellarmine Parish, Saint Martin de Pores Parish in Victoria Town, Our Lady of the Assumption Parish in Porus, and at Our Lady of Hope Orphanage in Black River.

2007 JOURNEY

A journey to the Diocese of Mandeville was made in June of 2007, by Denise Breslin, Greg Breslin, Shawn Breslin, Msgr. Stan Carson, Jim Foose, Patricia Foose, Ray Keefe, Cathy Keefe, John McKnight, Sister Patti Rossi, and Shannon Wilbur. This group lived and worked exclusively at Saint Robert Bellarmine Parish in Chapelton. They assisted in the school, completed several painting and maintenance projects, visited an orphanage and helped build a small house/shelter with material provided by Food for the Poor, a Christian Aid Organization which was created in 1982 to help the materially destitute in the Caribbean and Central America..

Following Mass on Sunday, June 17, there was the blessing of a two-room addition to the school, provided with funds from parishioners and friends. The rooms have been designated for use as a library and computer room. A friend of our parish has also generously provided new computers for use at the school.

Our parish has a long and generous history of responding to the needs of the materially poor in Altoona. Our relationship with a parish in Jamaica has provided yet another way in which “the Christ in us is reaching out to the Christ in others.”

 

 


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