Haiti Mission Trip 2016 video and pictures

Haiti Mission Trip March 30 - April 5, 2016

View the 14 minute iMovie on YouTube:

https://youtu.be/QiypHJdGBN8

Temporary Dropbox link for 2016 pictures:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/nu1fkjkkkg8gy9g/AAAs7xNtfASXuWQTYaCMdI3Sa?dl=0

Haiti Mission Trip 2015

Bishop Dumas, Msgr. Wildor, Fr. Ian celebrate mass with mission travelers, Beth Warwick Baran, Pat Veters, Sr. Marina, Muguet Bolotte, Tony Pastorello, Mark Ripple.

2015 Front of St. Benoit de Dessources.  Rectory entry to the left with metal gate. New bell tower complete.

 

 

4th grade enjoying the cards written in French and sent from Mary, Queen of Peace schoolchildren.

Morning Assembly

2nd story of rectory to left, with assembly hall in the background.

2nd story of church, assembly hall.  Roof of middle school to the right.

Updates from the 2015 mission trip

 

  • The 4th Haiti mission trip was very successful and we are pleased to report the significant progress at St. Benoit.  The cafeteria is now complete with plaster, paint, wall paintings of the saints of the 6 chapels.
  • The elementary and middle school classrooms are completely plastered, painted and furnished with desks and chairs.  The school kitchen, pantry and pre-K classrooms are complete.
  • The propane stove is in regular use and they are conserving propane by cooking the beans on the open fire and saving the rice for the stove.  The school lunch continues to be well received and very needed.
  • The rectory has added 3 rooms, one downstairs, plastered and painted and two upstairs in raw cinderblock form.  These rooms will be used by the many seminarians that visit and stay at St. Benoit.  During our visit there were three seminarians.  The seminarians work as teachers during their time at St. Benoit as they work towards their ordinations.
  • The 2nd story of the church is in raw cinderblock form and has a metal roof.  This will become the assembly hall.  Plastering of the floor, walls, electrical and painting will complete the space.
  • The finishing work continues on the exterior the the school, a beautiful plaster seals the cinderblock and painting will be the last step.
  • There is a nursing station off of the rectory and a full time nurse.  The room is partitioned by a curtain with a bed in the rear for those that need it.  We will continue to bring more medication for the children and vitamins during each trip.  She is administering the albendazole, vitamins and vitamin A.
  • The water system is working well and is connected to a septic tank 30 feet under the rectory.  A large cistern is part of the school structure and acts as a two story wall.  The cistern is drained and cleaned with bleach monthly.
  • The people of St. Benoit continue to say "THANK YOU MARY, QUEEN OF PEACE" they are most grateful for all of the blessings they have received.

 

Read more about the trip from Fr. Ian's May Peace Times "Hearts that beat as one"

Hearts That Beat as One

Fr. Ian M. Bozant

It is hard to fathom that our sister parish of St. Benoit in Haiti, when we first began our partnership with them, lay in ruins after a magnitude-7.0 earthquake, the most severe one to strike the country in over 200 years, completely devastated the country.  This single event left at least 250,000 people dead and over a million people homeless.  Our parish of St. Benoit was no exception to heartache and disaster.  The main campus of the parish was hit hard, crippling the church building.  The chapels that belong to St. Benoit (6 in total) suffered severe damage, some having only their altar left standing.  After the earthquake, St. Benoit’s parishioners swelled as refugees from the nation’s capital of Port-au-Prince sought a new life away from the ruins of the capital city.  In the face of this, the parish’s new priest, Msgr. Wildor Pierre struggled to provide for his flock, but ever confident that God would provide.

All of this, however, is not immediately known when one steps into the confines of the new compound that is St. Benoit Parish.  The beautiful rectory and church has tiled floor and fresh coats of paint and a style that immediately calls to mind the Franciscan mission churches of the Southwest United States.  The multilevel compound houses not only Msgr. Wildor, but also three seminarians, classrooms for 450 school children, a parish meeting hall, the church, and sacristy.  The parish has access to running water, a vital and precious resource, as well as solar power and a generator that is used sparingly.  In a country whose capital still houses the ruins of the presidential palace, St. Benoit stands as a beacon of hope and new life.  The physical parish itself only hints at the devastation wreaked upon the area just five years earlier.

Even more important than the physical building itself is the testimony of the living church present at St. Benoit: her parishioners, children, and Msgr. Wildor himself.  It would be difficult not to notice the gratitude and joy on the faces of the people of St. Benoit—a joy and gratitude that paradoxically radiates amidst the staggering poverty that surrounds them.  The people of Dessources do not have much, but what they do have, they are grateful for and they acknowledge it all as a gift from God.  Rarely does Msgr. Wildor have a conversation in which he does not boisterously proclaim, “Praise God!  Praise God!”  And just as his leadership helps the construction process at St. Benoit reach ever new heights, so does his spiritual leadership foster the life of the parish.  His gratitude and joy sets the example for those in his care and is perhaps best reflected in the children of the school at St. Benoit.  Eagerly they come to school and intently do they absorb their lessons.  All of the children at St. Benoit pass their exams—all of them.  And this is because education is more than a formality; it represents hope for them: hope that they can make a difference and change the situation that surrounds them.  For the children at St. Benoit, simple pleasures still amaze them and fill them with wonder and awe.  Evidence of this came from their amazement and tangible excitement when our merry group of seven helped them to make paper butterflies out of colored tissue and clothespins.  Simplicity marks their life, but it is a blessed simplicity.

As I come away from my first visit to St. Benoit, I come away with several important points.  First, as I told Msgr. Wildor and the parishioners of St. Benoit on the eve of our departure, what we have between Mary Queen of Peace and St. Benoit is something far greater than any monetary partnership.  It is an opportunity for us to engage the universal mission of the Church, recognizing that the Body of Christ as spoken of by St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 12 truly does not have boundaries—it goes beyond our local parish, state, or nation: these are our brothers and sisters.  Secondly, it has been an opportunity for us to experience a growth in our own faith as we encounter Christ in these new friendships that have flowered through our 4 years of partnership.  Additionally, I myself have a far deeper appreciation for the incredible generosity of our parishioners here at Mary Queen of Peace.  Coming into this project, without having been a part of its origin, it was difficult for me to truly appreciate how instrumental the people of Mary Queen of Peace have been in helping Msgr. Wildor and his parish.  Through the support of parishioners at Mary Queen of Peace, construction on the church has been completed; construction on the school has made significant progress and continues; teachers and staff have salaries; the water well was completed in 2014 for $16,000; a goat program (another valuable lifeline for Haitians) has been established through Food for the Poor; etc.  All of this enables them to work harder and harder to create their beautiful community.  Truly, I am humbled by the generosity of our parishioners and I cannot fully convey in words the gratitude of the people of St. Benoit.  They never ceased thanking our small delegation during our visit!  I, in turn, cannot thank Msgr. Wildor enough for his great leadership and stewardship of his parish.  His diligent care and charismatic leadership are invaluable aids in moving forward in our goals.

As I close this small reflection, I encourage renewed support for the Haiti Solidarity Partnership here at Mary Queen of Peace as we move forward in our relationship.  It was clear to me during my short time in Haiti that the hearts of the people of Dessources beat in unison with the hearts of us here at Mary Queen of Peace.  Without ever meeting me, they hugged me and told me they loved me because I represented this wonderful parish that has done so much to help them in their hour of need.  Give in whatever ways you can: money, donation, time, prayer, etc.  As our Holy Fathers have repeatedly reminded us, it is in a life of self-gift and service to those around us that we discover who we truly are and that we encounter the face of Christ: “Jesus identifies himself with those in need, with the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and those in prison. “As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40). Love of God and love of neighbor have become one: in the least of the brethren we find Jesus himself, and in Jesus we find God” (Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est [God is Love], 15).

 

More pictures to come...slideshow date TBD.