We come to you with a request for our mission in Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world and the most vulnerable to natural disasters, with more than 90 percent of the population at risk.
When Hurricane Matthew hit the south of Haiti on October 4, 2016, a little more than one year ago, hospitals and hundreds of schools were destroyed. The loss of agriculture, fishing and livestock impacted the livelihood of the affected communities.
In 1987, a Passionist Missionary priest by the name of Father Richard Frechette left his home in the United States and travelled to Haiti. As Father Rick lived among the political chaos, economic disaster and uncontrollable crime, he saw a need and founded an orphanage as part of the NPH network. Today, Nos Petits Freres et Soeurs, French for “Our Little Brothers and Sisters,” survives amidst all of that chaos and crime.
During these violent years in Haiti, many missionary priests and nuns were sent back home. Father Rick, however, despite the continued aggression and years of violent embargos, was determined to make a difference in the lives of this impoverished country, specifically the innocent young children.
With the lack of medical professionals to handle the widespread disease in the country, Father Rick requested permission from his Provincial to attend medical school. As he continued his mission in Haiti, he attended and graduated from New York College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1998. He wanted to care for the physical as well as the spiritual needs of the Haitian people, and especially the children.
Father Rick oversees St. Damien’s, a pediatric hospital providing long-term care to critically ill children and outpatient care to over 30,000 children and adults each year. He oversees the orphanage of St. Helene, housing over 450 children. Father Rick founded St. Luke Outreach Program, employing over 1,000 people.
The St. Luke’s Foundation is a nonprofit organization supported by the Passionists. The Foundation provides medical care, education, housing, clean water and community development in some of Haiti’s most impoverished communities, and is 100% Haitian led. The 28 primary schools lead into the high school, The Academy for Peace and Justice. St. Luke’s sponsors a professional school offering programs in nursing, solar installation, maintenance, plumbing and telecommunications.
As the Haitian people strive to rebuild their lives, many young people have expressed a personal interest in a vocation to the priesthood. A request by the Archbishop of Port-au-Prince was presented to the Passionist Missionaries to build a small Passionist Seminary that will provide guidance to those who have received a calling to serve Jesus. Since 2014, the Passionist Missionaries have welcomed five postulants who wish to be Passionists.
In January 2014 another Passionist, Father Enzo Del Brocco, C.P., joined Father Rick and founded a youth program known as LITTLE STONES, located in Cité Soleil. The program is designed to guide youth to fight injustice, poverty and corruption. Every Saturday, Father Enzo and Father Rick meet with 300 children. Through prayer, talks, videos, sports, music and workshops, they teach them about God and His unconditional love for them.
We come to you today for your help now more than ever. As the holiday season and the end of the year approaches, we find ourselves reflecting on the work of our Passionist Missionaries. We are also reflecting on the reality that we could not do nearly as much without the financial support of our friends, such as yourself. Gifts such as yours are absolutely critical to our ability to maintain and extend our mission, making a tangible impact on the spiritual and material needs of the Haitian people. We want you to know how grateful we — and those we serve — have been for your concern and your help.
Please know that in a world full of so much hurt and sorrow, your support will again have an enormous impact on the people in our care, “the poor and the marginalized of every kind.” And you will be able to count, once again, on their enduring gratitude — as well as ours — for keeping their needs in your mind and in your heart.
We appreciate your consideration of our request and look forward prayerfully to your response — and we thank you, again, for everything you have done for the Passionist Missionaries and the people in need, whom we keep at the center of our mission.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Father Edward L. Beck, C.P.
Treasurer and Development Office