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Diocese mourns sudden death of ‘Fr Jacky’


Bishop Gabriel Malzaire of Roseau has sent his condolences to the parish communities served by Fr Jean-Jacques Merilan CSsR.

‘Fr Jacky’, as he was known, died suddenly on July 19. He was 39.

“We sympathise with the St Clement’s community at Belfast where he resided and the entire Redemptorist Congregation for the great loss of one of their youngest confreres,” Bishop Malzaire said in a statement in the July 23 issue of the diocesan monthly publication, Our Catholic Community.

“We sympathise with the parish community of St Joseph, where he served as Parish Priest for the two years, and the parish community of St Anne where he previously served as assistant Parish Priest…. We also sympathise with his family in Haiti and the Haitian community here in Dominica. Fr Jacky was loved by many and will be greatly missed. May his soul Rest in Peace.”

Speaking to Dominica News Online, Redemptorist Superior Fr Matt Allman CSsR said though Fr Jacky complained of feeling unwell for a few days, his sudden passing was shocking.

“Father Jacky was beloved. We loved him very much and he was a tremendous minister, energetic and grateful, gracious, and a wonderful priest who was doing great things in his parish. We are overwhelmed with sadness to see him go.”

According to a July 20 obituary on, Fr Jacky was born in Grand Bois, Ouest, Haiti, on May 22, 1982. He attended the College Placide Louvadure and graduated in 2003.

“Through the assistance of several benefactors, Fr Jacky came to the Redemptorists through Trinidad after being interviewed by Brothers Jeffrey Rolle CSsR and Leonard Samuel CSsR, and by September 2005 he began to discern while in residence at the Blessed Peter Donders Formation Residence in Christiansted, St Croix. He enrolled briefly at the University of the Virgin Islands in the Fall of 2006.

“In June 2007, he arrived in Trinidad for a seven-week immersion with Fr Peter Hill CSsR and Br Gerard St Hillaire CSsR at St Theresa’s Church. In addition to his parochial work there, he assisted the Missionaries of Charity to help in their soup kitchen and worked with a youth camp.”

The obituary said he entered the pre-novitiate programme at Whitestone, New York, in August 2007.

“He undertook studies in philosophy at St John’s University and later theology at Boston College, from which he obtained his M Div in 2015. In the spring of 2014, he engaged in pastoral ministry at Our Lady of Grace in Chelsea, Massachusetts and during the summer on the island of St Lucia.

“He professed his vows August 11, 2010, and was ordained to the diaconate by Archbishop Joseph Tobin on October 11, 2014, at the Church of St Ignatius in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.

He was ordained on May 31, 2015, at the Church of St Gérard de Carrefour-Feuilles (Haiti) by Cardinal Chibly Langlois. He celebrated his first Mass in the Chapel of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of the Missionary Sisters of Charity on June 1, 2015. He was assigned to St Anne, Massacre, Dominica, and to St Joseph in Dominica.”