James, a seminarian that has been working with us the past few years with our Faith Formation program, always comes in the summer to offer his help. Before he went to the seminary, he prepared our kids and teens for the sacraments. Now some of those teens are ready to be Catechists, and James is helping us prepare them for the new school year. We are happy to have Alex, Gail and Jasmir join our team.
What does it mean to get ready for school here in Jacmel, Haiti, with our kids? These days of August are spent preparing our kids for school. Everyday we go to the market to buy material for their uniforms that need to be made by hand. Each school has their own colors. We hired Maria, a seamstress, to sew the shirts and jumpers for the girls and Jacques who sees to the boys pants and shorts. The kids all come to be measured.
We have been helping for a few years most of the kids who are coming to us now. This year we also have a few new ones. One such child is Geraldine, who is 13 years old and never had the opportunity to go to school. All she can do is write her name. She is so excited to be going to school this year.
We may be helping them go to school, but this comes with the obligation that they must do something in return. Each child or teen that we assist in going to school has a specific job to do here on the mission complex. This is so important for them to learn discipline, work ethic and, most of all, responsibility.
Thank you for helping us give a child “the world.”
You may remember Sts. James and Phillip Cathedral was badly damaged from the earthquake in 2010. It was not safe to worship in the space. For the past seven years, there was a discussion about what could be done to restore it. It would take millions of dollars to restore the historic site, so it was decided to demolish the building and save the holy altar.
On July 2, the Cathedral faith community held a beautiful concert prayer ritual followed by Mass at 5 p.m.
On July 13, we started to get our suitcases ready for our return to the States. We noticed something brown growing on one of them. As we looked closer, we saw tiny worm-like bugs.
Then we learned that we have termites. So we decided to clean everything and asked for help from Fritz (our Mother Angela Clinic driver). We began looking for the nest, and, when we saw it, we realized that we needed to get rid of the closet.
But then we saw another nest of them in the other closet and realized the whole thing had to be taken down. The termites were everywhere–in the doors, in the side panels. They were literally everywhere.
After everything was taken down and out of the room, the toilet pipe burst; and we had water everywhere. Thanks be to God, we had help! We called our plumber, and he came immediately.
Well, hours later, after everything was cleaned, we put things back in the room, only to find out that now we didn’t have any water.
The week of June 27-30, our dear friend, Eric Moyner from Florida, was with us a few days to work with the Mother Angela Clinic and to share another surprise.
Eric had created a program and placed all our medical records for our patients in a database using iPads. He worked with our doctors, nurse and pharmacist in updating the program and covering other questions and problems they may have had. Eric’s parish in Florida twins with St. Yves, a parish in Jacmel; and they have built a clinic for the people of St. Yves. Their nurse, Annette, also participated in the meeting in order to learn the program. We thank Eric for being a part of the Felician Haiti Mission, working with Haitians and empowering them to help themselves.
Eric also shared with us a wonderful learning program for our kids called, Kahn Academy Program. It offers online classes, in French, for different levels of learning for children through high school. We already did a workshop shop with our teens who will be working with our smaller kids. This is another marvelous blessing from the Lord! Thank you, Eric, for walking with us here in Jacmel.
During the week of June 19-23, our First Communion children came for Mass everyday. It is a tradition here in Haiti, especially the day after their First Holy Communion, that the children come to Mass that Monday dressed in their Communion apparel. On Saturday, June 24, we had our vigil Mass for Sunday. The youth choir sang, and the children came dressed in their Communion clothes. Once again, we are grateful for all those who made this possible for our children, who would not have any other way to receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.
In the heat of the day, after 3 p.m. on Wednesday, June 21, they came hot, tired, and dirty….Fr. Alan from Africa and Daniel from Spain. For many years, both of these men have been involved in the Neocatechumenal Way. They are walking itinerant missionaries. The Way sends them to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ who died for our sins and who rose from dead so we can have life eternal. They came to Jacmel as Jesus sent his disciples, without money, clothes, telephone or any other security. When they came to our house, we were getting ready for Mass, so we gave them water and invited them to stay. After Mass they met with our youth and shared their stories. Later, we told them where they could shower, and we gave them a change of clothes. We then washed their dirty clothes to give back to them the next day. We gave them some sandwiches and then a ride to the next place they wanted to go to bring the Good News.
The following day, they returned for their clean clothes. We invited them to stay for Mass and dinner. We enjoyed a wonderful sharings of the Good News, and they assured us that the Way soon will be coming to the Diocese of Jacmel with the catechesis.
We feel blessed that these two itinerant missionaries came to our home, and we feel as though the following passage from Genesis 18:1-5 was fulfilled in our midst: “The LORD appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground. He said, “If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by. Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree. Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way—now that you have come to your servant.” “Very well,” they answered, “do as you say.”