Jamaican Family Search Genealogy Research Library
See below for Roman Catholic
The Church of Scotland has in Jamaica five Churches, four Clergymen, and between fourteen and fifteen hundred communicants, ten Day Schools, eight Sunday Schools with Scholars to the number of 900 and upwards. Its adherents are about 6,000.
The general assembly of the Church which met at Edinburgh in May 1890, gave its sanction and approval to the formation of a Prebytery the members of which shall be the ordained Ministers of the Church labouring in and the island of Grenada, along with a representative Elder from each Kirk Session.
The Moderator for the current year is the Rev. John Radcliffe, Kingston. The Clerk of the Presbytery if the Rev. Donald Davidson, Kingston.
The meetings take place bi-annually.
There is one Church in Kingston and there are four others the Parishes of Manchester and St. Elizabeth: Medina, Accompong, Retirement and Giddy Hall.
The Scotch Church in Kingston was opened for service, in the year 1819. It is one of the finest buildings in Jamaica and cost over £12,000 sterling in its erection. It is octagonal in form, and while in an architectural point of view its external appearance is massive and somewhat heavy, its internal arrangements are graceful if not elegant. Its organ is one of the best in the City and it is well lighted. To this Church pertains the honor of being the first to establish a Sunday School in Jamaica.
... The premises formerly known and occupied as the Collegiate School have been repaired--indeed it might be said replaced by a building which contains two halls, the upper and the lower. The lower is for the Sunday School, while the upper is for Congregational Meetings, for Literary Meetings, and for such Public Meetings as will be sanctioned by the Committee of the Church. The building, which has cost about £1,000, is now known as The Collegiate.
The Church of Accompong, which is the Church of the Maroons, is almost within the Town of Accompong, and commands from its site a very fine view. If is designed to accommodate about 300 persons.
The Church of Retirement is situated some 4 miles lower than that of Accompong. This Church, not only in the quiet rapidity of its erection and in the whole of its arrangement, but also in the appearance and the industrious habits of its attendants, is an evidence of the progress that has been made and is still being made by the people in that neighbourhood. As illustrative of what has been done in a short time in this remote locality it may be stated that Mr. Stuart and Mr. Maxwell, the Ministers of the Maroons at Accompong, Retirement and Giddy Hall, have, amid other agencies at work, seven Sunday Schools, 38 Teachers, and an average attendance of 700 Scholars. There are also 10 Day Schools.
The Church of Giddy Hall if about 7 miles north of the town of Black River. The ground and the materials and a certain amount of endowment were granted by the late J. S. Cooper; while the work that was necessary for the erection of the building was very cheerfully given by the large congregation that now assembles in the Church.
The Church in Medina in Manchester was the gift of the late Mrs. Strachan of Medina. The temporary building is very soon to be superseded by one which from its outward aspect and its interior arrangements will be an ornament to the neighbourhood. This, like all the other Churches in connection with the Church of Scotland in Jamaica, has a flourishing Sunday School and has a congregation that is steadily on the increase.
It was not till towards the end of the last century that the Catholic religion was tolerated in Jamaica. In the year 1792 certain Catholics belonging for the most part to the Spanish Main and Cuba, but domiciled in Kingston, petitioned to be allowed to enjoy the services of a Priest. In the course of the same year a Franciscan Friar, an Irishman, by the name of Quigley, was sent out to Jamaica by the Right Rev. John Douglas, V.A., of the London District, the Ecclesiastical Superior of the Catholics in the British West Indian Islands. Fr. Quigley worked in Kingston till his death, September 19th, 1799. The funeral service was performed according to the rites of the Catholic Church by Fr. LeCan, assisted by two other French emigrant Priests who had taken refuge in Kingston on the breaking out of the revolution in Can Domingo.
Fr. William LeCan, a Dominican Friar, administered the affairs of the Catholic Church, as Prefect Apostolic, from the death of Fr. Quigley to the date of his own death, October 16th, 1807. For some months after this event the Catholics of Jamaica were left without a Priest. In 1808 Fr. Hyacinthe Rodriques d'Aranjo, a Portuguese by birth, of the Order of St. Dominic, was sent out by Dr. Douglas, as Prefect Apostolic of Jamaica. For more than 12 years he was the only Priest in the island. In 1821 Fr. Benito Fernandez landed in Kingston. He was a native of old Castille. At the age of 13 he emigrated with other members of his family to Santa Fe de Bogota, the capital of New Granada. When the South American colonies revolted from Spain, Fr. Benito had a narrow escape of his life. He was liberated from prison on the eve of the day fixed for his execution. He left South America and settled in Jamaica. He assisted Fr. d'Aranjo till April, 1824, when the latter sailed for Lisbon, leaving Fr. Benito in sole charge of the Mission. In 1832 the Rev. Edmund Murphy, a secular Priest, arrived in the island. For many years he was the occasion of great discord among the Catholics in Kingston. In 1832, Fr. Duquesnay, the first native of Jamaica raised to the priesthood, arrived and gave efficient aid to Fr. Benito in the discharge of his priestly functions.
In 1837 Gregory XVI formed Jamaica and its Dependencies into a Vicariate Apostolic. Fr. Benito Fernandez was named first Vicar Apostolic of Jamaica by a papal brief, dated January 10. 1837. The same year, 2nd December. Frs. Jacques Eustache Dupeyron and William Cotham arrived in Kingston to assist Fr. Benito and Fr. Duquesnay. Fr. Joseph DuPont, the most venerated of all the Priests who have laboured in the island, arrived on 1st February, 1847.
The Very Rev. Fr. Benito died on the 27th September, 1855. He was succeeded as Vicar Apostolic by Fr. Dupeyron. In the latter years of Fr. Dupeyron's administration he was assisted first by Fr. Jones and then by Fr. Woollett. In 1870 Fr. Dupeyron, on account of illhealth, resigned his office as Vicar Apostolic, and on February 9th, 1871, Fr. Woollett was named pro- Vicar Apostolic of Jamaica. He continued, after Fr. Dupeyron's death in 1872, to exercise the same functions till the arrival in the island of Fr. Porter, who by a Papal brief, dated 8th September, 1877 was appointed Vicar Apostolic of the Jamaica Mission.
In the last years the mission has sustained several great losses. On the 3rd. of January, 1885, Fr. Meyer died of exhaustion after fever. He was an indefatigable Missioner and his loss is much felt in the districts that he visited in Portland and St. Mary's. On the 16th June, 1887, Fr. Crispolti died of apoplexy. During the 3 years that he had been in Jamaica he had charge of the Mission in Spanish Town, and also of the Ladies' Association of Charity and of the Girls' Sodality in Kingston. He devoted much time and great efforts to these two Associations and to the relief of the suffering poor. But the greatest loss that the Catholics of Jamaica have ever had to deplore was that of Fr. Dupont, who died rather suddenly on Sunday, 11th September, 1897. With the exception of a Short visit to Europe in 1878 he had been constantly at work for more than 40 years, and mostly in Jamaica. The majority of adult Catholics have been baptised by him. For many years he visited several distant stations, besides doing most of the work in Kingston. Trinity Church and several of the Chapels in the country Missions were raised by him. The schism caused by Fr. Murphy was put down by him. In the terrible visitation of cholera in 1850, and in other epidemics, his great strength and boundless zeal were eminently conspicuous. Till his strength failed, as it did in the last year of his life, most of the sick calls came to him. In June, 1883, he completed the 60th year of his Priesthood, and his Jubilee was kept with great enthusiasm . His funeral was attended by a crowd of nearly 7,000 mourners of all ranks and creeds.
In April, 1888, Fr. Porter left Jamaica for four months absence to visit England and Rome. In August, instead of welcoming him on his return, his flock heard of his being seriously ill. On the 20th of September, he died at S. Bueno's College in North Wales. During his Vicariate the number of Catholics greatly increased. Almost every organ of public opinion in Jamaica spoke of him with respect and regret. The late Governor, Sir H. Norman, sent the Fathers a very touching letter of condolence, in which he spoke of the great help that Fr, Porter had given to himself. His successor is the Right Rev. Dr. Charles Gordon, S.J., Bishop of Thyatira.
[Note from JFS: The Holy Trinity Church at Duke Street and Sutton Street was destroyed in the earthquake of 1907. Holy Trinity Cathedral was later built on North Street.]
ST. MARY' S INDUSTRIAL SCHOOL.
This school was licensed for 50 girls by his Excellency the Governor at the beginning of 1890 under Law 34 of 1811. In addition some months later, his Excellency in Privy Council granted a license, for a limited number of boys in temporary premises till such timer as permanent ones which are now about finished could be completed.
Both the Boy's and Girl's School are under the care of Sisters of Mary.
Besides the Industrial School they have also under their care an Orphanage containing about 40 girls.
CONVENT OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
On the 6th November, 1857, four Sisters of the Order of St. Francis landed in Kingston. They came from Glasgow, with the intention of founding a Religious Community of Women in Jamaica, who should devote themselves to the work of education and of visiting the sick, when so requested. Since their arrival the labours of the Sisters in educating the young have met with great success. The community now numbers 17 Sisters, two of whom have charge of a promising school in Spanish Town. Though many additions had been made to their buildings during the residence of the Sisters in Duke Street; yet still more room for the health and comfort of children attending their schools was required.
There is now nearing completion a fine large building which will cost the community about £2,000. The Sisters have a Boarding and High Class Day School numbering about 80 young ladies.
St. Joseph's Girls' School ranks as one of the first schools in the island.
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