Prior to 1984, the Turks and Caicos Islands were part of the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Nassau in the Bahamas. In 1984, it became a Missio Sui Iuris (see below) and the first Ecclesiastical Superior was Archbishop Lawrence A. Burke S.J. In the three years prior to 1998 the islands were served by a priest who came for some eight months of the year. The remaining six months of those last three years there was no priest present on the islands.
In July of 1998, at the request of the Holy See, the Archdiocese of Newark provided two priests to serve the Catholic community of the Turks and Caicos Islands on a full time basis.
In the Fall of 1998 the Archdiocese of Newark, assumed responsibility of the Roman Catholic Missio Sui Iuris of Turks and Caicos Islands.
On the 6th of January 2017 His Eminence, the Most Reverend Joseph William Cardinal Tobin succeeded John J. Myers as Archbishop of Newark and as Ecclesiastical Superior of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Presently serving as Vicar General is the Reverend Monsignor Ronald J. Rozniak, P.A., Protonotary Apostolic of the Archdiocese of Newark.
Missio Sui Iuris
According to Canon Law (cf: canon 368), a Missio Sui Iuris, or mission in its own right, is just the beginning of the establishment of a particular church in a specific territory. This entity can belong to ecclesiastical territory (in our case, to the Diocese of Nassau, Bahamas) but governed by the (arch)bishop of another territory (in this case, by the Archbishop of Newark, New Jersey). Thus, the Ordinary who governs the Missio Sui Iuris is its Ecclesiastical Superior.
The next step for the Missio, according to the size and growth of the Catholic community is the establishment of an Apostolic Vicariate. Canon 371, paragraph 1, states that: "an apostolic vicariate or apostolic prefecture is a certain portion of the People of God which is not yet erected into a diocese, due to particular circumstances, and whose pastoral care is entrusted to an apostolic vicar or to an apostolic prefect who governs it in the name of the Supreme Pontiff".
The final step of the Missio Sui Iuris is to become the principal form of a particular Church, that is, a diocese. Governed by a bishop appointed by the Holy Father and helped in its pastoral care by the presbyterate and subdivided in several parishes, the diocese "constitutes a particular Church in which the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church of Christ is truly present and operative." (cf. Canon 369)
To learn more about this mission and about the wonderful work being done by the priests of our Archdiocese, please visity the TCI Mission website by clicking here.
Making a Gift
To support the Mission of the Catholic Church in the Turks and Caicos Islands, you may do so by filling the form below or by contacting Ivan Arocho, Acting Director of the Office of Development and Stewardship of the Archdiocese of Newark at (973) 497-4332.