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Jamaican mission for East Anglia volunteers

A group of nine volunteers from across the Diocese of East Anglia accompanied Fr Michael Johnstone on a sixth annual trip to Jamaica to work with the Missionaries of the Poor in Kingston for up to three weeks during mid January.

In all the Brothers run six residences in Kingston, each with 70-120 residents. There is a further residence for babies, Holy Innocents, run by the MOP Sisters, who were founded just eight years ago.

Frances Taylor, from the Cathedral parish in Norwich, said: "It was an amazing experience. The trip offers those of us who are not medically trained the opportunity to help the Brothers, we can feed people, cut and paint nails and lotion people's skin, let alone bathe and change nappies.

"Those who do have some medical training are made very welcome. Amongst our group we had a theatre nurse and a physiotherapist, they could both have stayed twice as long and not have run out of jobs using their particular skills. Above all, what the Brothers and their residents needed was our prayers and our unconditional love and friendship."

Fr Michael said: "Volunteers who visit – mostly from the USA – live in a monastery, sharing the prayer life and general routine and simple style of lifeof the Brothers, of whom there are over 200 in Kingston – most in formation. There are another 400 in ten different missions around the world,in the Caribbean, East Africa and the Far East.It is from these countries that vocations come.

"The residents, looked after by the Brothers, assisted by the volunteers, range from babes in arms to the extreme old. None of them have their own means of support and there are no social services in Jamaica."

The nine East Anglian volunteers can be seen in the picture, top, helping at lunch time at “The Lord's Place” – a residence for women, run by the Missionaries of the Poor in Kingston.

Pictured are the East Anglia volunteers, back row: Tony Chapman (St Boniface Norwich) Fr Michael, Myles O'Hanlon (All Souls Peterborough) & Ciaran Losasso (Cathedral and Ignite team), front row: Frances Taylor (Our Ladies Norwich) Mary Burr (Bury St Edmund) Moira Selvage (Gorleston) Ava Solano (Bury St Edmund) & Lydia Growns (Hunstanton). Absent from the picture is Josephine Mulligan (Cathedral).

If you are interested in joining the next visit, you can contact Fr Michael at: