“For You have been a refuge to the poor, a refuge to the needy in their distress, shelter from the rain, shade from the heat.”
— Isaiah 25:4
Since the time of the Apostles, Christians, such as yourself, have been called to spread the blessings of love through faith, hope and charity. All followers of Jesus Christ are called to be apostles. All of us are sent forth (cf. Matthew 28:18-20) as “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20). By preaching the good news, you are helping Jesus work miracles in places where miracles are desperately needed.
When Hurricane Matthew devastated the island of Haiti, the initial focus of the relief effort was to provide food to prevent famine and to furnish construction materials to rebuild homes. Through your gifts and prayers the Passionists actively participated in phase one of this relief effort. The residents of the island were given seedlings and plants for them to grow, in order to return to an ordinary self-supporting life.
One of Matthew’s most significant casualties occurred in Jeremie, a remote area in South West Haiti, where St. Viktors’ Parish lost both their Church and School. Today the children are striving to continue their studies in a ruined building, under tarps. St. Viktor’s School has served as a central meeting place for this small community, a place for the students and families to feel cared for as individuals. Rebuilding St. Viktor’s School is a major goal of the relief effort and essential to securing the future of Jeremie and its people. We fear that with this disruption in the children’s education, they may feel compelled to migrate to the slums of Port au Prince, where the only option for youth is to join street gangs and fall prey to substance abuse and drug trafficking.
As of this writing, $292,000.00 has been raised. Through generous donors like yourselves, the foundation and the exterior of two main buildings have been rebuilt. To continue the rebuilding, additional funding is needed for finishing work on lines and surfaces of columns and slab edges. The 16 classrooms will then be available for ironwork, tiling and painting. Your donations will help support the completion of the interior of these buildings, as well as the construction of the bathrooms (septic tank, toilet and sinks). With your help, we hope to begin this phase in winter/early spring 2019.
Three Passionist priests -- Father Salvatore Enzo Del Brocco, C.P., Father Rick Frechette, C.P., and Father Hugo Esparza-Perez, C.P., all based in Port-au-Prince -- have been working closely with the Diocese of Jeremie to reach out to generous and steadfast donors like you, to help rebuild this isolated community. We need your help to give these children a chance to continue their education within a safe, stable and caring community. So often in the past, whenever Haiti tries to pick itself up, something always seems to knock it back down, including- and perhaps especially- the forces of nature. Yet, the people of Haiti are deep-seated in their faith and eager to make better lives for themselves and their families. Education plus faith equals the best chance to break the cycle of poverty that afflicts so many of God’s people, in Haiti and around the world.
The Passionists have been present in Haiti since 1987, attending to the spiritual, educational and medical needs of some of the country’s poorest residents. This has only been possible through volunteers and supporters, such as yourself.
We hope that you will consider making a gift today so that the Passionists can continue doing God’s work and spreading His Word to the people of Haiti. “This time of year we celebrate the Christ child who came to us in a stable. For these children, living amidst chaos and destruction through no fault of their own, help us celebrate Christ’s birth and give them the seed of faith in such a way that will produce food that will last. It is the faith and humanness of others toward the child that will ultimately make the child’s heart wise and their lives true to Christ.” Father Rick Frechette, C.P.
I also invite you to send your prayerful intentions along with your gift. You and your loved ones will be remembered in all the prayers and good works of our Passionist priests and brothers.
Thank you for being a continued friend and supporter of the Passionist Community. May God bless you!