By Derrick Scott
Washington, DC – Father Dan Leary, of St. Andrew Apostle Catholic Church in Silver Spring, Maryland, is the latest recipient of a citation from Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who has hailed the priest’s contribution to the building of Jamaica.
The Prime Minister said Father Leary’s philanthropy has significantly transformed the lives of the mentally- and physically-challenged.
In the citation delivered on his behalf by Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Her Excellency Audrey Marks, the Prime Minister detailed Fr. Leary’s efforts that resulted in six new homes built on the Jacob’s Ladder property in Moneague, St. Ann. It houses mentally-challenged individuals aged 18 and older.
Father Leary has provided adequate and suitable accommodations for some forty-eight mentally-challenged persons, the Prime Minister noted.
“Father Leary’s benevolence knows no bounds as he continues to solicit international and local support for those who are less fortunate. His contribution through the Mustard Seed Community has played a pivotal and life-changing role in the lives of many Jamaicans.” Prime Minister Holness thanked the Pastor for his resolve to improve the lives of the needy and vulnerable in Jamaica and for his commitment and dedication to serving the people of Jamaica.
Father Dan Leary, who is from Ireland, pastors a church with of over 1700 members. For the past four years his congregation has partnered with the Good Shepherd Foundation to assist the needy in Jamaica.
One of the main beneficiaries is the Jacob’s Ladder Community Project in Moneague. Sitting on 100 acres of land, the facility houses about 110 residents but according to Father Leary the vision is to accommodate about 500 adults and to develop the land into a hub for sustainable agricultural projects.
Ambassador Marks offered her own high praises for Father Leary and his congregation for their mission to serve the poor and needy in Jamaica. She said the Embassy of Jamaica stood ready to facilitate any endeavour to benefit Jamaica and her citizens, and assistance from friends of Jamaica is very special.
Fr. Leary called it “an honour to accept this citation on behalf of the people of St. Andrew, and I am elated that the Prime Minister of Jamaica has seen it fit to recognize us with this citation.” He said he and his congregation felt called to the mission of helping the poor and needy in Jamaica. “It is a blessing to receive this honour, and we will continue to work for the people of Jamaica especially the vulnerable and the poor, the abandoned and the orphaned.”
The citation was presented during a brief ceremony at the Embassy of Jamaica. Those on hand included Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy, Mrs. Marsha Coore-Lobban; lawyer and former Ambassador to the UN, Curtis Ward; and Ms. Joy DuFour, sister of former Roman Catholic Bishop of Jamaica, the Most Reverend Charles DuFour; as well as members of the St. Andrew Mission.