Check out this featured article in the April 28, 2019 issue of The Witness
Haitian parish restoring church after 2018 quake
Good morning, my name is Mel Harvey and I am a member of the Haiti Committee.
Why do we go to Haiti? ……. Quite simply, “the People” The people at St. Montfort are spiritual, faithful and hopeful. When you have worshipped and prayed together, held their babies, held malnourished 2 year olds on your lap then, with proper nutritional programs, watched them grow into strong 18 or 20 year olds. Having shared their joys and sorrow, you cannot just walk away! Can’t Walk Away!
I must say that you at St. Anthony have been steadfast in your support of St. Montfort. Nineteen years ago, we began taking goodwill donations every month. Not once in those nineteen years has St. Anthony failed to provide the support needed to carry on the mission. The people of St. Montfort know who you are! Through earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, droughts political and social unrest, God and the St Anthony partnership have been the constants that have sustained the hope of the people.
Following the blessings you gave me in February, I traveled to Haiti with several parishioners from St. Paul the Apostle in Grand Rapids, Michigan. That parish has been providing some support to St. Montfort for several years and has even made visits to the parish. We were aware of their efforts and they were aware of ours. It was time to work together to provide for the needs of the people at St. Montfort.
We met the new pastor, Fr. Rebert Belderin who is 35 years old and 6 years a priest. Fr. Rebert is full of energy and ideas. He has gained the respect and love of the people. He also speaks fairly good English. He plans to visit St. Anthony Parish in September.
We met with Fr. Rebert and the St. Montfort Parish committee for two nights and agreed on three priorities.
St. Anthony’s will focus on renovation, equipping and supplying of the existing medical clinic. We will work to provide opportunities to enhance the education and skills of the nurses already working at the clinic. With the parish, we will recruit a doctor to work in the clinic 1 or 2 times a week. We need to help support and sustain the clinic in the months and years to come. Our medical team can work with and mentor the nurses and doctors.
St. Paul the Apostle will focus on making much needed repairs to the school, upgrading the teacher’s education and assisting the parish in meeting a government mandate to provide 3 levels of kindergarten thru 9th grade. They also will begin a nutrition program and continue providing tuition assistance.
Fr. Rebert wants to start educating the people at St. Montfort…both young and older parishioners through classes offered by the Dioceses. He wants them to learn life skills…how to live and work together, how to be church and how to integrate small groups into the larger body of church. He will emphasize tithing and the importance of paying tuition for their children.
We are often asked: “Why do you go to Haiti” or “What do you do when you are there?” Well I can tell you what has been done.
-The roof at the church has been replaced, all the windows replaced, the ceiling has been replaced, new lighting has been installed and the church painted inside and out.
-A bell tower has been built. The parish now has a new crucifix in the church that they never had before.
-Our medical team has made numerous visits to provide medical care to those unable to afford it.
-Nearly 200,000 Kids Against Hunger meals have been sent and distributed.
-Assistance has been provided to help pay the meager salaries of teachers and nurses.
-Funds were provided to complete a new school at Passe Catabois in the countryside.
-A new generator and equipment enough to rewire the church and campus was sent last August. .
On behalf of the Haiti Committee and the people of Haiti, I want to thank you for continuing the walk together!