By Maribeth McCurren
This was my fifth trip to St Anthony of Padua, and it is very rewarding to see the progress we have made in the school, church, and cafeteria/kitchen over the years!
I was heartened to hear how the parishioners there have contributed. Once a month, the collection goes to pastoral needs so the upgrades to the church are very evident. Another weekly collection goes to the "scholarship fund." There currently is no high school in Croix Fer. This allows some students to continue past 6th grade in a nearby town. The other two weekly collections go to "the poor." Most Haitians are poor; this goes to the abject poor.
Even though the needs are many and we can't solve all the problems there, the committee members and parishioners we met are EXTREMELY grateful for everything they have received. The enthusiasm in Mass and their reliance on God is very evident and humbling. I always come home feeling awed by their faith.
We experienced many painful and joyful sights. Traveling to the Feast of Bernadette at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in a nearby town, we were laughing about a humorous moment when a young man, emaciated and crippled, stumbled onto the road directly in front of us. Very sobering. The feel of a little girl's hand in mine as we were walking down the lane with a group, laughing and playing as I did with my own children.
I feel blessed to be able to be part of the Haiti Ministry and I hope our relationship with St Anthony continues to help both of our parishes grow in faith.
Click to read Steve Boehm's Haiti submission!