Jamaican Roman Catholicism

The island of Jamaica, known for its distinctive style and culture, has a diverse religious landscape. While the islander's many faiths do include Roman Catholicism, it is far from the most prominent style of worship.

Much of the Caribbean's colonial history contributed to the islands' current religious practices. Jamaica is no exception. Though originally colonized by the Spanish, who were Catholic, the British took control of Jamaica early in the island's history. They brought Protestantism - particularly the Church of England, or Anglican faith - to the islands.

Although many Irish-Catholic servants migrated to the island early in its colonial history, the importation of slaves soon overtook the usefulness of such servants. These European servants were freed after only a few years of service. The slaves were educated in the religion of their masters, which was usually Anglican.

To this day, the majority of the Catholic churches on Jamaica are located in regions near the earliest settlers' homes. Kingston and Mandeville (near Spanish Town) are the two main hubs of Catholicism on the island, but Montego Bay also has a diocese. Kingston is home to the island's Archdiocese and serves as leader of four dioceses, two in Jamaica, one in Belize, and one in the Cayman Islands.

Churches are common around the diocese, but may be harder to find further away from these religious hubs. Hotels can often help vacationers find a church that is right for them.

Jamaica's religious diversity means that many belief systems are represented. If attending a Catholic Mass is an important part of your stay in Jamaica, it's best to take a look around the region and plan accordingly.


Help us improve! We welcome your corrections and suggestions.