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For the common good—St Dominic’s, Penal

Welcome. Protect. Promote. Integrate.

The St Dominic’s RC Parish, Penal continues to strive towards the achievement of these goals through its Parish Ministry for Migrants and Refugees (PMMR), as it seeks to alleviate some of the many challenges faced by our Venezuelan brothers and sisters.

The cluster communities of Penal, Morne Diable, Penal Rock Road, Platinite and Barrackpore have responded to the call, as we are ever reminded by the message of Pope Francis for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees in January 2018… “To love and treat strangers because you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Lev 19:34).

Informally launched in August 2018, the Ministry implemented a Sunday Meal Programme in the Morne Diable community, providing lunches twice monthly to 38 Venezuelans residing in the area. This programme has continued for almost one year, with the numbers of recipients increasing exponentially to 100 plus. It would not have been possible except for the kind donations of parishioners and well-wishers.

In April 2019, the PMMR expanded its programme as the influx of persons increased in Penal and its environs. Donation boxes were placed in all cluster communities and RC schools for the collection of food items and clothing for the commencement of a food and clothes bank.

There was, however, an urgent need to provide immediate and short-term relief to those seeking assistance. The parish partnered with organisations and private citizens for the provision of the following:

* Some 300 persons inclusive of children were medically assessed by volunteer doctors with some provision of minor medication

* Temporary rental of lodgings was paid to provide shelter

* Hot meals, food items, clothing have been provided and continues on a periodical basis

* Mattresses have been distributed to those persons especially where there are children

* Conversational English classes are being conducted at the St Martin de Porres RC Church, Morne Diable, and Holy Faith Convent Penal on Thursdays and Fridays respectively.

The PMMR continued its Outreach Programme with a Spanish Mass held Sunday, July 14, 2019 and continuing on the second Sunday of each month at the St Dominic’s RC Church in Penal.

The young migrant children would be integrated into the Vacation Bible School which is scheduled to be held from Monday, August 12 to Friday, August 16. The intention as well, is to have classes after hours, for both children and adults beginning September.

The St Dominic’s RC Parish continues to work for the Common Good – Dignity, Unity, Equality for All.

—Helen Salick