Franciscan

Missionary Life

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A Blessing Beyond Measure

BY LINDSEY ARCHDEACON

Sometimes it’s hard to imagine how financial contributions actually impact the lives of those less fortunate. Donations are sent off with thoughts, prayers, and knowledge that others are being helped, but it’s not always possible to grasp the extent to which generosity changes lives.

Fr. Colin King, O.F.M., who is serving at the Franciscan mission in Negril, Jamaica, often sees firsthand how small acts of kindness have the power to change lives, bring hope, and spread the love of God. Fr. Colin is no stranger to poverty and its effects—he is pastor of two churches on the west side of the island in small rural or fishing communities where residents struggle to make a living and provide for their families. It is a daily obstacle for parents to put food on the table and send their children to school. In certain areas in the hills, rainwater must be collected and harvested since there is no natural water source.


Raymond and Marie Rose with their children on the shore with Raymon's fishing boat.

It’s a world where an already difficult and perilous livelihood cannot withstand even the slightest setback, so when the motor on Raymond Rose’s fishing boat broke, he panicked. Fishing is the primary source of income for this husband and father, and he did not have the money to repair it or purchase a new one. Unable to fish and desperate for a little bit of income to support his family, he began working on other people’s boats while his sat on the shore. He hoped to eventually save enough money to have his motor welded, but even if he had enough money to repair it, it would inevitably break again. He knew he would be forced to repeat the tedious process until the day his motor would be beyond repair.

Seeing this family’s dire need, Fr. Colin was able to step in on behalf of the Province of St. John the Baptist and offer enough money to purchase a new motor. Half of the cost (about 2,000 USD) was a gift to the family, and the family will repay the other half to the local church to be used for future projects in the community.


Fr. Colin King blesses Raymond's new fishing boat motor.

"My hope is that these projects will immediately help families in the community find sustainable ways of supporting themselves," Fr. Colin says, adding that he is also working to find mentors to guide families in running their businesses. "I am also hoping that these folks will become community leaders who are willing to give back and help others."

Raymond and his wife, Marie, are extremely grateful for the support. "We really benefit tremendously from this help," Raymond says. "When I go to sea and catch fish, I get to sell some of them and that helps support my children going to school and my family…and I get to share some of the catch with friends and family also." Marie says she believes that God sent Fr. Colin to them in their time of need.

Your generosity truly makes a difference and touches the lives of many. The Jamaican mission is always accepting donations, which sustain the friars’ work and allow them to expand their programs.

            *This story first appeared on stanthony.org *
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