Fairfield Prep is pleased to welcome the Very Reverend Monsignor Gregory Ramkissoon as the Guest Speaker of Prep’s 80th Commencement Exercises on Sunday, June 5, 2022. Msgr. Ramkissoon is the Founder and Executive Director of the international Mustard Seed Communities. With its mission to serve the most vulnerable members of society, MSC directly cares for over 1500 abandoned, handicapped children and children living with HIV/AIDS in Jamaica, Haiti, The Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and Zimbabwe, Malawi and has chapters in the United States, Ireland, the Netherlands and England. The Mustard Seed Communities directly and indirectly help 15,000 children around the world. Fairfield Prep has been sending students on immersion trips to a community in Jamaica for 10 years, where Prep students have both helped care directly for the residents and worked on building and grounds maintenance to keep the location safe and updated. Our students have been challenged and transformed by the experience of serving and connecting with others who struggle with severe physical and mental disabilities, making an impact on their Jesuit education and beyond.
In 1978, Monsignor Gregory Ramkissoon started Mustard Seed Communities (MSC) in response to a disturbing trend on the streets of Jamaica—the abandonment of children with disabilities on sidewalks, empty lots, and even trash cans by families so marginalized and impoverished that they could not afford another mouth to feed. Monsignor Gregory decided to do something about it. He came across some unused land and gathered some friends and financial support to begin building a home for a handful of the children who had been living on the streets of Kingston. So began the first Mustard Seed home.
Gregory Ramkissoon was born in Trinidad, West Indies as the fifth of 13 children. He holds a degree in Urban Planning, as well as Master’s degrees in Philosophy and Theology from Boston College. His family lives all over the world and his family members practice a wide variety of faiths. When he was ordained a Catholic priest in 1984, Ramkissoon knew he was not called to a parochial vocation, but instead saw the need to address poverty in developing countries and felt obligated to help in some way. What started as a small home for a few dozen children has grown into homes, schools, and small business enterprises in Jamaica, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Zimbabwe, and Malawi. Nurturing faith among the poor remains a central goal of Mustard Seed Communities, attained through a variety of social initiatives.
In 2009, it was announced that the Archbishop of Kingston, Most Rev. Donald Reece recommended highly to the Pope that Father Gregory Ramkissoon be elevated to the status of Monsignor, and, he was named, Rev. Monsignor Gregory Ramkissoon O.J., C.D., Papal Chaplain. In 2010, Monsignor Ramkissoon was conferred with the Order of Jamaica, the country’s fourth highest award, and in 2011, he was appointed Vicar General within the Archdiocese of Kingston, Jamaica. The United Nations as well as countries and organizations around the world have honored Monsignor with a long list of prestigious humanitarian and service awards. Fairfield Prep is deeply honored to welcome Rev. Monsignor Gregory Ramkissoon, a true and inspirational Man for Others!