Caribbean Overview

Caribbean District

History

The Divine Word Missionaries began work in the West Indies in 1971 with the appointment of Bishop Joseph Bowers, SVD, as the first bishop of the Diocese of St. John’s–Basseterre. The diocese is made up of several islands, including Antigua & Barbuda, St. Kitts & Nevis, Montserrat, Anguilla, Tortola and Virgin Gorda.

Since the beginning of our ministries in the West Indies, we have accepted ministries on other Caribbean islands. In 1993, we took on pastoral and social development work in a rural area of Jamaica. In 2005, we added two of the island’s suburban parishes. And we adopted a parish in Sint Maarten in 2008.

By listening and living among the people, we have found ways to spiritually and socially support them. Because teaching the Bible is significant in our ministries, one of our missionaries founded the St. Jerome Biblical Institute on the island of St. Kitts.

We walk with our people, who are trying to define their Catholic culture in the Caribbean context. Our work moves beyond the sacramental ministry to maintain an ecumenical spirit of bridge building. We face social dilemmas with our people, who are confronted with drugs, teenage pregnancies, and disintegration of the family. As we work and live among the people, we try to impart hope, bring dignity and strengthen the faith of those who search for a better tomorrow.

Personnel

There are 19 confreres currently working in the Caribbean District (18 priests and one brother). They come from twelve countries: Brazil, Croatia, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Mexico, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Togo, the United States and Vietnam. The oldest confrere was born in 1938, and the youngest in 1973.

Parishes

Anguilla — St. Gerard
Jamaica — Church of Reconciliation, Good Shepherd, and Our Lady of Assumption and missions
Montserrat — St. Patrick, St. Martin de Porres and St. Augustine Primary School
St. Kitts-Nevis — Immaculate Conception Co-Cathedral, Holy Family, Sacred Heart and St. Theresa
St. Maarten — St. Martin of Tours
Tortola — St. William
Virgin Gorda — St. Ursula