Jamaican Mission Trip

Many alumni know Fr. Jim Bok, OFM as the Principal of Roger Bacon throughout the 1980’s, but current Spartans know him through the Jamaican Mission Trip organized through the Spiritual Life Office. The Franciscan Friars established a mission to care for churches in and around Negril in 2000, and Fr. Jim serves as the Pastor at Mary Gate of Heaven Church. This past summer, after landing in Montego Bay, Jamaica twelve students and two faculty members traveled one hour by bus to the town of Negril.

While Negril is not largely Catholic, the Franciscans presence in the community is incredibly evident. Fr. Jim and Fr. Colin King, OFM were the tour guides and service coordinators for the weeklong mission trip. Throughout their stay, students worked in groups to serve the community in several different ways including volunteering at St. Anthony’s Soup Kitchen, started by the Franciscans. Not only did they help serve the food, but they also learned how to make authentic Jamaican dishes.

The group helped the friars’ give back to a parishioner and volunteer of the church. They spent time building and painting a house as a thank you for all of the parishioner’s help and time.

One of the highlights of the mission trip, was spending time at several local schools. The children and our students immediately bonded and were eager to learn.

While the main emphasis is to serve those in Negril, the students also got to interact with the local community and learn more about the Jamaican culture through music, education, food, and dancing. On the weekends, they got to enjoy mass together, the magnificent beaches of Negril, and go cliff jumping at Rick’s Café.

The students came home with a deeper appreciation not only for the Jamaican culture, but for the Franciscan values they were able to recognize spanning from Cincinnati to Negril.

The following participated in the Mission Trip to Negril, Jamaica:
  • Jacob Beyer ’19
  • Emily Bruns ’19
  • Mary-Kate DeWees ’19
  • Andy Gruenwald ’19
  • Tori Gruenwald ’21
  • Zachary Howell ’19
  • Jeannate Ingram ’21
  • Anneliese Lorsbach ’19
  • Anna Merz ’20
  • Emma Mullen ’19
  • Abigail Schneider ’21
  • Lucas Strunc ’20
  • Mrs. Samantha Carpenter
  • Ms. Allison Cleaver
Click the play button above to watch a video of the Mission Trip created by Lucas Strunc '19.