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Letting Go: Lent and Larry II

Editor’s Note: Missioner Brandon Newland reflects on letting go of feeling responsible to help others who do not yet want to be helped and learning how to meet people where they’re at instead of where we want them to be. It has been almost a year since we arrived here in Savannah la Mar and…

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Letting Go of Expectations

Editor’s Note: Missioner Patrick Montine shares a story from mission that stresses the fact that no matter how much we plan and prepare ahead of time, life often does not follow these plans. In these moments, it is important to realize that we can’t do it all by ourselves. A couple of months ago we…

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Health Care in Jamaica

Editor’s Note: Missioner Brandon Newland shares the challenges that he’s seen in the health care system in Jamaica and how it has broadened his views in this area.  A few weeks ago, I woke up and headed to church as usual. When I got there, the guy who opens the church every day told me that Danzies was over…

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Anticipation as a Blessing

Editor’s Note: Missioner Patrick Montine reflects on the great joy he experienced when his family came to Jamaica to visit him during Christmas. Through this joy and the anticipation that preceded it, Patrick came to deeper realizations about the nature of anticipation and its connection to our relationship with God. Happy New Year everybody. I…

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Comfort and Joy: Grace through Dignity

Editor’s Note: As part of our “Comfort and Joy” Advent/Christmas blog series, missioner Brandon Newland reflects on his interactions with two women from his infirmary visits in Jamaica who have left lasting impressions on him.  The end of the year is a wonderful time to reflect on the many blessings given and received throughout the year. This year,…

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Comfort and Joy: Looking out for the Other

Editor’s Note: As part of our “Comfort and Joy” Advent/Christmas blog series, missioner Patrick Montine speaks to the power of companionship and shares how his time working in a food kitchen in Jamaica has led to a deeper realization of the importance of relationships. I spend some of my time each week helping out at the…

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Taking Time to Reflect

Editor’s Note: Missioner Patrick Montine shares his experience of the retreat he took recently in the town of Maggoty, Jamaica.  In  September, during the first weeks of school, I finally took my retreat. As a Franciscan Missioner, I am able to take a retreat and a vacation each year. I am taking my vacation later,…

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Cultivating Compassion

Editor’s Note: Lay missioner Brandon Newland shares how he acted as a bridge-builder between two ministries where he serves in Savanna-La-Mar, Jamaica Even though there was no Bible study over the summer, I still wanted to stay involved with the students as well as keep them connected to the church. I invited the children to…

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From Passive to Passionate

Editor’s Note: Lay missioner Patrick Montine describes how his participation in a Youth Rally in Jamaica led to a dramatic wake up call. I had the opportunity to go to a Youth Rally last weekend in Browns Town, Jamaica. The rally was for teenagers and young people to come together and hear some talks about…

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Learning To Be A Farmer

First-year missioner Patrick Montine shares an update from the field. Right now it is summertime here in Jamaica, which is about the same as any other time of the year:hot and humid. The schools are out for the summer (as well as any other ministries we have with children) so instead I have been working on…

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Accepting Differences and the Right to Fight

A perspective from Brandon Newland, first-year missioner in Jamaica Recently, the U.S. Supreme court has decided on some very large decisions. Living outside the U.S., in Jamaica, I witness what is happening in a unique way, and I have become frustrated by where we, as Americans, choose to focus our energy. Even though the political…

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Learning from Children with Special Needs

The last couple of of weeks I have had the amazing opportunity to work in a classroom with some student teachers from Xavier University (Cincinnati, OH). They came to work with children with special needs. They needed assistance for their student teaching, and I have some experience teaching, so I agreed to help. I worked…

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Live with Purpose

We recently finished the Easter Season with Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descends from heaven on to the disciples. The disciples start speaking in many languages and are told to go out and preach the Gospel to all people, and they do—they go to the edge of the known world to spread the message to…

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Nature vs Nurture

Starting in the month of May, Pat and I will begin our endeavor of raising chickens from a day old chick to adulthood. They will be completely reliant on us for the first two weeks of their lives while they live in the brooder we built for them until we place them in the larger…

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Lest we forget

I was recently given the unique opportunity to attend the opening mass for the Antilles Episcopal Conference, a meeting for all the bishops from French, English and Dutch territories, except Haiti, of the Caribbean. To show how big of a deal this is, there were 26 bishops there, one cardinal and a papal nuncio (Ambassador…

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Lent and Larry

As we are still in the Easter season, we remember the many opportunities to reflect on one’s self and determine how to grow as a person beyond the 40 days of preparation during Lent. The sacrifices Jesus made so many years ago afforded the human race a second chance for redemption and the convenience to…

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Eternal fulfillment

Last week we celebrated a funeral for one of the parishioners here in Jamaica. The woman had been sick for a long time, so she was now free from the pain and in God’s loving embrace. The Jamaicans have interesting traditions for funerals. Since most people in Jamaica are not Catholic, the mass is separate…

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The Dippas

After the long wait, I finally arrived in Jamaica, and it has not failed to impress. Immediately I notice the unspeakable beauty of the island. Lush jungles, incredible coastal vistas, soft sand beaches, and cooling gentle breezes whistling through the palms. I also took note of the massive houses speckled around the island hills. Alongside…

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Journey to the Blue Mountains

Recently one of the priests in Savannah la Mar had a friend visit Jamaica. For the occasion, we were given the opportunity to hike to the top of the famous Blue Mountains of Jamaica located near the capital of Kingston. Since I arrived here in Jamaica, we’ve been constantly busy with our new lives here,…

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At Long Last!

Well I finally did it. I made it to Jamaica. After about a month of being at home and ending the sadness of the Superbowl, I have arrived to this beautiful country of Jamaica. A country known for it’s beaches , resorts, and heat. The week that I came to Jamaica was the start of…

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How Did I Get Here?

Editor’s Note: The following is part of our daily holiday series celebrating “The Shared World.” When my best friend Meghan asked if I wanted to go on a mission trip to Jamaica with her the summer after our freshman year of college I was a little skeptical.  As much as I don’t like to admit it,…

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