This is the weekend for the last scheduled collection for Haiti. Trisha Scott of the Social Justice and Peace Commission writes,
It could not come at a better time! In case folks have questions for you, here is some information.
The church, rectory and community center which we helped to build withstood the weather well. Only minor damage was sustained. This is a testament to how well these buildings were constructed. They remain operational and ready to meet the needs of the community.
The main issue throughout Haiti is a lack of food. Most of the people in our sister parish and elsewhere are subsistence farmers. Crops were washed away as well as livestock, such as chickens and goats. Clean water has always been difficult to obtain and now with the flooding this is even more of an issue. This makes further outbreaks of cholera very likely.
Southern Haiti was hit more directly from the hurricane. Our parish at Meyer in Jacmel is on the south coast. Cities further along the coast sustained even more damage.
Our Social Justice and Peace Commission has had communication with our Haitian contacts and can report they are safe and well.
We have made a plan to send additional funds immediately to Sacre-Coeur and to Maribal. This is in addition to our planned donations for the feeding of the children, school support and women’s program. Our primary focus is to aid the priests and sisters to buy food, which is now very expensive and in short supply.
We are hopeful that this timely collection will allow us to continue to not only provide our regular ongoing support but to allow us to provide significant additional aid in this time of crisis.
There are brochures describing our sister parish relationship at each church. This is a good resource for those wishing to learn more.
I thank you all for your assistance in this project and I hope our collection baskets overflow!
Additional messages have arrived Thursday. One is from Fr. Dieuveille:
Early that day, Father Bertrand Dieuveille was able to send an email expressing his appreciation for prayers that were offered on behalf of his people. He also expressed deep concern, particularly for the poor people who depend on small plots of land to grow most of their food. This source of sustenance will be wiped out. In his words... the misery of our poor people will increase because they are only “gardeners” -- parce qu'ils ne sont que des jardiniers. We reassured Father Bertrand of our prayers and support.
It may be several days before electricity and communication are restored, and he will be able to provide an assessment of the emergency situation. For our Parish of the Holy Eucharist, it will be particularly relevant when we have the monthly door collection in support of Meyer on the weekend of October 15-16.
Meanwhile, we received an e-mail from Father Simon François -- the former pastor at Meyer and now assigned to LaVallee de Jacmel. His church is St Jean Baptiste de LaVallée. He wrote:
Thank you for thinking of us. Our community here in the mountains has spent more than 18 hours under wind gusts of a Category 4 hurricane. It has been terrible! Agriculture is devastated, livestock has been lost, the roofs of houses have been washed away. Even the church has lost roofing plates. There are now new problems to solve.
I value the friendship of the group in Maine.
Another came from Fr. Hugues Berrette, former pastor at Sacre-Coeur de Meyer, currently stationed in Brooklyn while working with a large Haitian community:
It's always a helpful to hear about your concern for Haiti and its
struggles! Fortunately in Jacmel the situation is not too bad. Jeremie and Les
Cayes are the most affected by the hurricane Matthew! Until now there no
communication with Jeremie and the rest of the country! Since Monday I talked to
my relatives in Jeremie because the roads and the cell system were entirely
I continue to pray and to try to help some people!
We have also received a message from Fr. Roger Chabot, former Pastor at Sacred Heart. Fr. Chabot established the relationship between Sacred Heart and a parish in Haiti in the 1990s, and it has carried over into our current parish. The original link was with Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Corail, Diocese of Jeremie. The devastation in that area with hurricane Matthew is horrendous - up to 80 percent of the buildings destroyed or damaged in Jeremie and Les Cayes.
Fr. Chabot wrote,
Thank you for the update on Haiti and Corail. Someone from St. Joseph Parish in Farmington has also sent me an update on Les Cayes and a sister-parish close by. They need our help there more than ever and our prayers. St. Joseph Parish will be sending them more help to get food, water and supplies. Haitians are a resilient people, but can't do it alone. Thank you. Fr. Roger