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Monthly Archives: April 2019

Resurection is peace, hope, mission

Here in Jacmel, there are so many ways we experience the power of the Risen Jesus in our midst. There are times when we feel just like the apostles after the crucifixion, a feeling of lost hope and sadness because of situations that we see here among the poor. Yet, as the power of the resurrection has shown us many times on this journey, God transforms the impossible and makes things possible. Or, when we have worked and tried to walk with someone that chooses the other direction where there is loss, no life and death, we ask ourselves where did we go wrong in our mission, our witness, our accompaniment? The Lord once again gave us this experience, and we were asked once again to believe there is new life in Christ.

Her name is Joanna. When we met her, she was about 14 years old. How much she wanted to go to school! But she had such a hard time with the way our accompaniment challenged her. If we would sponsor her schooling, she would need to “pay it forward” with some kind of work with us. For years, we would challenge her with this idea. If she did not work, we would not pay the installments. If we did not see her progress and were not in relationship, we would not continue. She would try to change each time, and another chance would be given.

Joanna is now 18 years old. She was being sponsored this year and was working here in the mission with our kids, assisting and tutoring with homework. As the months went by, Joanna was looking sadder and sadder. She would would be on her phone a lot, and we would once again challenge her to be in relationship with her students. She was part of the Youth Choir for our Dedication in October. Then, when we prepared for Christmas, she was not around. She wanted to be in the play, but she never showed up for rehearsal nor for Christmas Day.

Then, as the new year began and all were returning to school, we heard Joanna was not returning to school because she was pregnant. She never told us, but we saw her brothers and her mother. She is indeed pregnant. Finally, during Lent when we returned to Jacmel, we contacted her. She came over and told us she was 6 months pregnant. She was very big, and we thought it must be more than 6 months. We had prenatal vitamins for her and welcomed her. We offered her our presence and, most of all, hope. The father of the child was at the time visiting her, but he is in school.

Joanna suffers from anemia. Over the Easter Triduum, she called us saying she was in the hospital and in need of blood. Here in Haiti, if a family member does not offer to give their blood, you find someone and pay them for it. We knew we could not do it after our surgeries and circumstances. On Easter Monday, we went to see Joanna in the hospital (see Monday, April 20 blog) and saw for ourselves that her ankles were swollen and she looked depressed. She was in need of a sonogram and other medications for an IV drip, but she did not have the money. So as is done here in Haiti, we had to go to the pharmacy and buy the IV and medication, then come back to Joanna and have the nurse give it to her. We also paid for the sonogram which was $50 USD. Joanna looked so very sad. We knew she was sick, but she was sad for another reason–the father of the child had not come to see her and was showing signs he wanted nothing to do with the situation. He has school. This seems to be the problem in many circumstances when a teen girl gets pregnant. Thank God, Joanna has her mother who is trying to assist her!

After a few days, Joanna had the sonogram. We got a call that it was not enough, and we wondered why. Well, Joanna is having twin girls. Another $50 USD was needed, and she then had the second sonogram. The last message we heard from her is that they want to do a caesarean due to her high blood pressure, water retention, rapid heart beat. This was supposed to be done last Saturday, but the doctor never came to do it. So, we do not know what will be happening next. We wait in hope and seek peace for Joanna as we seek to share the Risen Lord and his mercy. Isn’t this what the resurrection of Jesus is all about? He enters our lives to bring us hope and peace, not judgment and condemnation. Joanna’s life is being changed every day. We remember her in our prayers and try our best to accompany her on this journey, which is so very scary for her in such a poor country where medical care is at its minimum.

We try to walk with these young mothers who literally have nothing to live on and nothing for their newborn babies. But where there is life, there is hope; and we seek to share this hope in this mission among God’s people. Here is Galilee; here is Jerusalem…go there and you will see me says the Lord!

Young mothers and their babies participating in Water with Blessing project during Advent.

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Living the resurrection …

We have living stations of the cross as we remember how Jesus suffered and died, and we also believe we have the living resurrection in our midst. The resurrection of Jesus is alive and seen in so many circumstances here. The resurrection assured us that life does not end; it changes and we have hope. We dwell in hope because we know that the best is yet to come. The resurrection gives us hope and confidence for the future. There is hope that we can have joy and peace in the midst of the despair. There is hope that there will come a new heaven and a new earth. There is hope of eternal life. Our hope comes from the resurrection of Christ. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again into a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (I Peter 1:3).

Today we were able to give witness to this hope and to bring hope. You may remember a week or so ago, we shared with you Vilcia’s story and her diagnosis of malaria. She had the medication, but she was getting weaker. Dr. Yves, the director of the Mother Angela Clinic called her last week to see how she was…no better. He surmised it may be something else, maybe TB. So Vilcia went to the hospital to be tested. Sure enough, she tested positive. She is now taking medication, but all who visit her must wear a mask. As we made our Easter resurrection visit and prayed with her, we saw a woman so weak who before had a bit of strength. All we kept saying in our prayer over her was–In the name Jesus Christ who is risen, be healed. It made the resurrection even more real for us today.

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Holy Saturday … and so we wait…

“I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and for your descendants, I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated.” (Taken from Holy Saturday Homily)

Yes, we are waiting for the great Vigil of vigils. Traditions are kept here with the coloring of eggs and the blessing of the Easter foods.

Seeing the Easter tables from all sides.

Fr. Valcin blessed the food. He has done this for us for the past few years.

Giving Fr. Valcin a homemade babka.

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Walking the Way of the Cross with our people in Jacmel.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you; because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world. Early in the morning, at 6:30 a.m., the people of Jacmel gather to begin our pilgrimage with the Lord and His holy Cross. It is a spiritual experience to watch and pray.

The journey is like being in Jerusalem, with people even selling things from the market. Others were watching the crowd from rooftops and listening to the singing and prayers as we gave witness to our Christian Faith.

As we participate in these days and know the situation of today, we ask God for mercy and peace. May we see an end to all violence that prevails in this country. As we walked the way, these words came to mind:

“Finally, taking up your cross and being willing to give up your life means living in a faith that believes that nothing is impossible for God. As James Martin puts it, this means accepting that God is greater than the human imagination. Indeed, whenever we succumb to the notion that God cannot offer us a way out of our pain into some kind of newness, it’s precisely because we have reduced God down to the size of our own limited imagination. It’s possible to accept our cross, to live in trust, and to not grow bitter inside pain only if we believe in possibilities beyond what we can imagine; namely, if we believe in the resurrection.”

Excerpt From

The Passion and the Cross

Ronald Rolheiser

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Chrism Mass

Every year on the morning of Holy Thursday, the Diocese of Jacmel has their Chrism Mass. Our new Bishop gathered with all the priests of our diocese. This year, they wanted to gather the priests in our mission complex and to also have their reception after the Mass. Thank God, we were not the ones responsible for the food! This had already been arranged. However, this meant we needed to be here to receive the priests and to help with some of the preparations for the reception. So we had to offer up the fact that we could not participate in the Mass.

It was a blessed sight to see all our priests with their Bishop, getting ready to renew their priestly promises.

The oils were also ready to be brought to the Church for consecration by the Bishop: Oil of The Sick, Oil of Catechumens, and Oil of Chrism.

After the Mass, Bishop Marie Errick and all the priests, deacons, seminarians, and religious returned to our place for the reception.

A Sister of St. Vincent de Paul, who was among the group, wwas from Krakow, Poland. This was a delight for Sr. Inga.

We think our new Bishop likes our place!

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Holy Week retreat for our teens!

On Wednesday, April 17, our teens gathered for retreat led by Father Duckensen, a newly ordained Vincentian priest. Our theme was from Pope Francis’ new document for the youth, “Christ is Alive!”

As morning broke, we had torrential rains, which delayed when we were to begin. Thanks be to God, slowly but surely, they arrived one by one; and 22 young people shared in the day.

The day began with Praise and Worship, followed by a conference with Fr. Duckensen sharing highlights from the document, especially God’s love for young people. There was a short break with special pastries that our girls had made the day before.

The youth were then given different parts of Chapter 4 from the document that speaks about three truths of God’s Love; Jesus dying on the Cross for us; and Living with the Holy Spirit in our lives. All had time for personal reflection and then large group sharing with Father, as well as time for questions.

The teens had an open question and answer time with Father Duckensen. They shared their reflections on the document.

After a chicken dinner and fellowship, the teens prepared for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament with Confessions.

The day ended with Mass.

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Prayers and Blessings from our family to yours!

This is our family here in the Felician Haiti Mission. Today, as we enter Holy Week, they helped prepare for the procession and welcomed God’s people to our home.

From left to right: Jean Philip, Ludwica, Sr. Inga, Sr. Marilyn, Annette, Gesmar, and Malthilda.

Look, we pray, O Lord, on this your family,
for whom our Lord Jesus Christ
did not hesitate to be delivered into the hands of the wicked
and submit to the agony of the Cross. Who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2019 in Uncategorized