US-born priest honored in Jamaica, tells Jamaicans to turn in criminals

.- A native New York City priest, who has lived in Jamaica since his first assignment to the Caribbean country in 1976, has been a staunch social reformer and has been honored with the title “Servitor Pacis” (Servant of Peace) by the Path to Peace Foundation. Msgr. Richard Albert has founded numerous charitable works for Jamaica’s poor and sick in the last 29 years and continues to promote social reform.

In a homily at St. Mary’s Catholic Church Sunday, the monsignor urged Jamaicans to take Jamaica back from the criminals, and provide members of the security forces with information that will lead to arrests and convictions.

"Every citizen should become a police informer. Only then will the criminals feel isolated," he said Sunday, reported the Observer. "Civil society needs to stand up and say we have had enough," he said.

Msgr. Albert pointed out the complacency of Jamaicans in fighting the current crime wave and referred to the country’s spiraling murder rate.

He acknowledged corruption within the police force and the judiciary, but said he believed in the justice system.

Msgr. Albert was ordained for the Friars of the Atonement, but when he discovered his love for the poor and vulnerable in Jamaica, he asked to be incardinated in the Archdiocese of Kingston.

In 1982, Msgr. Albert founded St. Monica’s Home for those who have leprosy.  Currently, there are 31 residents comprising those with Hansen’s Disease, abandoned elderly, and poor AIDS patients. 

He also began the St. Patrick’s Foundation in 1993. It has five human resource centers that offer feeding programs, health clinics, programs for pregnant teenage girls, remedial education, skills training in woodwork, dressmaking/tailoring, welding, and computer technology. It is the largest non-government and non-profit organization on the island.

He later began the Stella Maris Foundation, which offers similar services, in one of the most depressed and violent areas of Jamaica.  He also led the construction project for Our Lady of Hope Church, several other health clinics, and four basic schools for early childhood education.

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