The Jamaican Ties That Bind
by Paul Zilonka, C.P.
On August 15, in a section of Queens, New York, called Jamaica, Passionist Fathers Angelo Iacovone, Gerard Orlando, Richard Leary and Malachy Mc Gill renewed the religious vows they had first professed seventy years earlier in 1939.
Their strong voices that day echoed the voice of a much younger Jamaican-born Passionist Michael Rowe who professed those same vows for the rest of his life on August 9 in Kingston, Jamaica. But the “ties that bind” these five Passionists to God and to one another are far more significant than the coincidence of the place name “Jamaica” which they share in these ceremonies of religious profession.
Fathers Angelo and Richard ministered as priests for decades in Jamaica, building up communities of Catholics, while also sharing in many ecumenical endeavors with dozens of Christian denominations throughout the country. Though the distance from Jamaica New York to the island-nation of Jamaica in the Caribbean is substantial, the two places have long been connected in the minds and hearts of Passionists.
Since 1955, Passionist bishops, priests, brothers, sisters and lay missionaries have ministered faithfully throughout the country. They have devoted themselves to apostolic ministry, working alongside Jamaican clergy, religious and laity through parochial ministry, in Mt. Calvary Retreat House and other forms of evangelical preaching, as well as assisting in many social needs of health and education.
As we recall the religious profession of these five men, we cherish the memory of the scores of other Passionist men and women they represent both here and abroad.