Meet family for the first time. Our lives are fuller when we personally encounter family we have heard about but never met face to face. We have a great relationship with our sister parish in Haiti through emails, pictures, prayers and support. What got this relationship really going and continuing to grow is visits here by 4 of their pastors and 3 visits there by me. A small group went with me last time in 2012. It is time for another visit. I invite you to join me. Let me know if you are interested and I can answer any question you have. I am planning to go for about a week in late February or early March, it’ll depend on what works best for those going (and if necessary later in March or even in January are possible). By the end of November we will set a date and get tickets (passports, too, if you don’t have one). The weather is great there in our winter but it is not a high-class resort. Their rooms and food at the parish are simple, but adequate. News from there can be scary, but being in the pastor’s care has always made me feel safe. Your eyes will be opened to the poverty that is just a few hundred miles off our coast. You will be forever grateful for even the smallest gifts God has given you here. You will be inspired by the blessing they have even without most of the material things we have. And you will be family.
We can always use prayers for a blessed adventure and funds to offset the expenses for travel are appreciated, they can be labeled “Haiti trip”. In the past the purpose of visits was to get to know members of our sister parish personally and do some minor service such as bringing some supplies and visiting parishioners and students. I am considering some simple projects we could do this time like building benches or bunk beds, helping the injured in the dispensary, I’m open to ideas.
Haiti News from Fr. Joseph:Lord had mercy on us. The new chapel is still standing without a scratch. Closer to the coast the 140 mph winds did a lot of damage.
Haiti News from Fr. Joseph:In Laborde, the hurricane has broken all things: Churches, our elementary schools, private houses, gardens, Many people have come to live in the secondary school and in the rectory I can't visit the chapels yet, but the directors have told me that all are completely destroyed. I'll send some photos of the Church, school, the rectory and the Church yard. Thank you very much for the money sending. (Note: The death toll so far is 1000; starvation and cholera will claim more.)
Pray for Haiti Our sister parish near Les Cayes was hit by the worst of Hurricane Matthew. Homes, crops and livestock were certainly lost. A bridge was washed away making aid to the area difficult. It may be awhile before Fr. Joseph can give us specific news.
Haiti ChapelIt has been a year since we started helping Our Lady of Fatima’s people build a dignified place to give glory to God. So far we have raised just over half the money needed to complete it. Thank you for your prayers and donations to this project. Checks for donations can be made out to St. Lawrence with Haiti Chapel in memo.
In November on Christ the King 20 children made their first Communion and the last Sunday 107 young and adults were confirmed. It was a wonderful celebration. Christmas is already at our door, I wish it to you and the people of St. Lawrence a joyful and happy one! May the child Jesus bring to everybody everything good.
Our Sister Parish in Haiti Most of our support sent to Haiti is used to educate the children of Laborde, to help them help themselves rise out of poverty. But our money and prayers are also sent for our ultimate goal as church - to save souls. A special way to help them in this mission will be announced soon.
HAITI NEWS:Dear Deacon Tim,
With so much pleasure, I come to answer to your last mail. Thank you very much.
The St Vincent de Paul funds (that I mentioned in my last letter) are to help people in special needs. In Laborde Parish we gather many of the poorest people in an association called "St Vincent de Paul". They are more than sixty. Most of them live in their family. And others (they are 7 now) live in a house of the Parish. For three years (2011, 2012, 2013), they were helped by Spain’s Catholic Charity. However, these funds have been stopped and have not yet been renewed. We have to feed these people and maintain the house with our weak means. So, a part of the funds received from St Lawrence Parish helps us in this task. I hope this won't last much longer.
Our transportation problems are not resolved yet. We are still waiting for the arrival of the car ordered by Fr. Bernard. In the coming months we will get it.-Fr. Joseph
On behalf of my parishioners and on mine, I come to wish you and St Lawrence peopleMERRY CHRISTMASand HAPPY NEW YEAR 2015
Thank you for helping us to commemorate a nice Christmas. Last thursday we had celebrated with people of "St Vincent de Paul" and December 30 we will be back to continue the feast. This morning we have had a thanksgiving mass for the benefit of our supporters in St Lawrence Church. Tomorrow night we will have a great Christmas eve and Thursday, after the great Mass, we'll celebrate with the altars servers. Thank you so much!
May God bless you and everyone of St Lawrence church!
Our drought has ended. It has been raining here for three weeks. The weather is now nice. We have a good greenness. Our farmers are sowing now. This week, I know, is a special week for American people. You are celebrating the THANKSGIVING DAY. I wish to you and the people of St. Lawrence: good, happy, and flourishing!
A thousand thanks to you and the St. Lawrence people for your important support. Blessing of God for everyone of you! May God bless you and America! Fr. Joseph
Correspondence with the new pastor of our sister parish in Haiti:
Dear Father Joseph, I am very happy to welcome you as pastor in Laborde, our sister parish (St. Lawrence in Carroll, Iowa). I'm sorry this is so slow getting to you. The address I had for you had a mistake. Fr. Max just emailed me with the correct one. I look forward to getting to know you and sharing news of your parish with mine. Three pastors from Laborde have visited St. Lawrence. These visits have greatly improved our relationship. I look forward to meeting you someday. I know you are busy with a new parish now, but if you have plans to travel to the USA it would be a good opportunity for us to fly you to Iowa. God bless your new assignment and preparations for the new school year. I am a teacher and know how busy this time of year is. We have money to send to Fonkoze. God's Peace, Deacon Tim
Dear Deacon Tim, I just come to hear from you. I looked forward it for many weeks. I have tried to email you but that was not possible because the address that I had was also wrong. A thousand thanks for giving me a sign. I promise to be the forth pastor who will visit St. Lawrence Parish, maybe next summer. I will come back to that for better planning. God bless you and St. Lawrence people!Fr. Joseph
Dear Deacon Tim, I’m very happy to greet you and St. Lawrence parishioners a second time. I thank you very much for your last email that made me feel happy and safe. After reading that and after two months of observation in Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, I felt it was necessary to make a little report on our parish school for the benefit of yourself and St Lawrence parishioners.
Kindergarten (children three to five years old). We have for this year an enrollment of more than 120 children with 8 teachers.
Elementary (children from six to twelve years): 345 pupils with 14 teachers.
High School (7th to 12th grade): 195 students with 32 teachers and a board of 7 Directors. I note that last year there were 160 students, because of the weakness of the parents resources, we had closed the year 2013-2014 with a deficit of $5,303.73 (US dollars). We need an urgent help to pay this debt before the ending of this month.
Our expectation for this year: Average fees by student: $ 179.83/year. We have 195 students whose 10% will be scholars or unable to pay. We expect an entry of: $31,650.08
All Teachers salaries: 812hours/month x $3.20/hour= US$ 2,598.40/month X 10 = US$ 25,984.00
Staff salary : $ 1,465.70/month X 10 = US$ 14,657.00
Keepers and Charwomen (4) including one of the kindergarten : $ 309.73/m X 10 = $3,097.30
Miscellaneous: $ 500.00/month X 10= $ 5,000.00/year
Total preview expenses: $ 48,738.30
Only for the secondary school, I expect a new deficit of : US$ 17,088.22
So, the situation is very alarming for me when I have just come to take charge of this Parish. Moreover, I have others catechetic and social projects that I am looking for some funds to implement. Lastly, I count on your usual help to fill those deficits on our budget and start some pastoral activities. May God bless every one of you! Fr. Joseph Petuel Lainesca
Dear Fr. Joseph, I am glad to hear the transfer worked. I thank you for the very fine school report. My fellow parishioners appreciate knowing the details of how the money we send is used and their hearts will respond with generosity. I am happy to tell you that we will be sending you enough to take care of last school year's debt and some to help with your pastoral needs. We have much to send now because it's been 2 months since we sent a full collection and we had an annual activity for our feast day that raised $5000. Our farmers here are just starting what looks to be a great harvest. We pray that God will take care of the people of Laborde, especially to protect them from the chikungunya virus. God's peace,Deacon Tim
You can read about our experience in Haiti on the following pages.