Bishop Burchell A. McPherson, Longtime FFTP Board Member, Recognized by the Diocese of Montego Bay Jamaica as He Retires
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Feb. 12, 2024) – Congregants and clergy gathered in Jamaica on Saturday to celebrate the work of the Most Rev. Burchell A. McPherson, D.D., a member of the Food For The Poor (FFTP) Board of Directors, in honor of his retirement as Bishop of Montego Bay.
Affectionately known as Bishop Burchell, the bishop was showered with tributes at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Montego Bay, St. James, Jamaica. Bishop Burchell, who officiated the Mass, acknowledged everyone who came from near and far to celebrate his work and wish him well in retirement.
“Thank you for all of your support over the years,” he said. “Today, I say to you all, continue to keep up the good work. Continue the journey and may God continue to bless you all in a very special way.”
The Most Rev. John Persaud, Bishop of Mandeville, Jamaica, and Apostolic Administrator for the Diocese of Montego Bay was among the speakers to sing his praises, at times speaking directly to Bishop Burchell.
“Today, the Diocese of Montego Bay says, ‘thank you’ for your years of Episcopal Ministry,” he said. “Your kind, gentle and caring posture has left an indelible mark on the lives of many. God Bless you for all that you have done and all that you continue to do beyond the confines of the Diocese or the Catholic community.”
The Mass brought together clergy, parishioners, and community members to reflect on the remarkable contributions of a beloved leader, who now holds the title of Bishop Emeritus.
William Mahfood, nephew of FFTP founder Ferdinand “Ferdy” Mahfood, and his wife, Frances, were among the people in attendance, as well as members of the FFTP staff in Jamaica. In addition, Ed Raine, President/CEO of FFTP traveled from Florida to Jamaica to witness the celebration of Bishop Burchell and his work.
“Bishop Burchell is a devoted servant of God and a treasured member of the Food For The Poor family,” Raine said. “We value his counsel and are privileged that he has chosen to share his grace and wisdom with our organization. This celebration in his honor truly is well-deserved.”
A convert to Catholicism in 1976, Bishop Burchell has served in numerous pastoral and administrative roles since his ordination. He was installed as the 3rd Bishop of Montego Bay on June 8, 2013, and since then, has become the Patron of the Good Shepherd Foundation – the social outreach arm of the Diocese. Among his many accomplishments with FFTP, Bishop Burchell was instrumental in tripling the annual distribution of food and medical supplies, housing solutions, and self-help projects for the Diocese and the ecumenical community of western Jamaica.
The Rev. Msgr. Eremodo Muavesi, Rector of the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament Cathedral, delivered the homily and shared his reflections on Bishop Burchell, who “lived with great passion, love and service to God’s people” even in his declining health. Known for his motto of “Service Before Self,” Bishop Burchell was always accessible, with humility, compassion, and a heartfelt desire to help those in need.
“Bishop Burchell loves the people,” the Rev. Msgr. Muavesi said. “He always put the people first.”
Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of hungry children and families living in poverty primarily in 17 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, water, medicine, educational materials, homes, support for vulnerable children, care for the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. For more information, please visit foodforthepoor.org.