St. Mary and St. Augustine Parishes have had a “sister parish” relationship with Our Lady of the Assumption Parish in Porus, Jamaica for more than twelve years. Father Baylon Paschal is the current pastor there and assists in the coordination of all sister parish activities. The focus of the relationship is to help our sister parish in meeting their religious, educational, medical and economic needs … and to assist them in reaching their full potential. Through this process bonds of Christian love and support are formed and the faith communities of all parishes involved are enhanced by activating the peace and justice message of the Gospels. The support of our sister parish is one of prayer, time and money. The small change collected at all weekend mass offertory collections is allocated to support our sister parish. In addition two annual “general collections” are targeted to support sister parish activities. One collection supports liturgical, religious and educational needs of the sister parish. The other is dedicated to supporting the mission team that travels to Jamaica annually to build and repair homes of OLA parishioners as well as other Porus residents who are in dire need.
Some benefits of our sister parish relationship are:
1. Help the parishes become fully aware of their lives … in relationship to others.
2. Encouraging mutual spiritual growth and fulfillment.
3. Broadening our view and understanding of the global church … and its place in the world.
4. Raising the consciousness and sensitivity to the needs of the poor and less fortunate … as related to the standard of living we enjoy in the U.S.
5. Providing opportunities for hands-on lay involvement through annual mission trips to build and repair homes in Jamaica.
6. Challenging the parishes to a deeper faith and prayer life.