The Bishop Boyle Outreach and Resource Centre is the outreach arm of the Diocese of Mandeville that seeks to serve the poorest of the poor in the Diocese under the guidance of St. Matthew’s Gospel which states: “For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink: I was a stranger, and you took me in…And the king answering shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.” Matt 25:35,40.
The Centre was originally established on November 21, 1997 as the Hope Distribution Centre. The facility served primarily as a warehouse and Distribution Centre for much of the food and other items received through partnership with our main supplier Food For the Poor and other charitable donor agencies/organizations such as Societa Unita de Canada, the Mormons (United States), Red Cross International, Sister Parishes, and private individuals both local and international.
The vision of the founder, the late Bishop Paul M. Boyle was to establish this outreach ministry of the Catholic Diocese of Mandeville to serve the needs of the poor and dispossessed.
In December 2006, a devastating fire temporarily railroaded activities at the Centre. It was rebuilt with the generous assistance of the Food For the Poor organization. The re-dedication was done in 2007 and the Centre renamed in honour of Bishop Boyle.
In January 2015, it was relaunched as the Bishop Boyle Outreach and Resource Centre, whose operations now encompass those of the former Bishop Boyle Distribution Centre and Hope Construction Housing, and extend to include additional programmes which will widen its range of services . Through the Centre, the Diocese manages its housing ministry, charitable distribution, and scholarship funding for students in need, and administers the Pilgrims of Hope project of the Owensboro parish in Kentucky, USA. Mrs. Hope Wood-Salmon is the manager at the Centre, coordinating and supervising the many activities there.
The Scholarship programme is one of the more recent initiatives of the Diocese that has been designed in response to the challenges faced by many students. Already, a number of families have been identified, where the illness or death of a parent, unemployment, underemployment or accident has created undue hardship in the home. These challenges are resulting in children being frequently absent from school due to their inability to access funds for transportation or lunch. In addition, many do not have the basic school supplies needed for them to function in the classroom.
In order to help in alleviating these burdens, the Diocese is seeking funds to assist the affected children with food, transportation and school supplies, thereby increasing their chances of success in school. Lunch programmes are also in place in various schools to ensure that all the children have at least one proper meal during the day.
The Pilgrims of Hope Project, which is initiated by the Owensboro parish in Kentucky, is also administered through the Bishop Boyle Centre. The aim of this project is to assist persons in starting and sustaining their own small businesses in order to provide for their families.
In addition, the Centre continues to work in partnership with Food for the Poor as a storage and distribution facility, and provides shelter and housing assistance to the poor, through its housing ministry.
Since 1999, the housing ministry has provided over 1500 homes to families in need. In addition, a large number of individuals and institutions have also received partial assistance in rehabilitating their homes or other buildings.
Due to the overwhelming need in the Diocese, the housing ministry faces the constant challenge of keeping up with the need to build homes for the poor. While much has been accomplished, much more needs to be done to assist those who are seeking help. We wish to acknowledge the many individual donors who have made contributions over the years.
A number of mission groups have also been providing us with much needed support. Groups from visiting sister parishes, or Universities wanting to lend assistance while exposing their students to this enriching experience, contribute a minimum of US $3000 towards the construction of a house. The groups are invited to participate personally in the building of the houses, under the supervision of the Outreach Centre Team. For the participants, the experience is truly a satisfying one.
The Bishop Boyle Outreach and Resource Centre promises to continue to fulfill its mandate of being the hands of God in serving the poorest of the poor in the Diocese of Mandeville.