Post Quake Reflection on Haiti - Thank You.
Although once the richest colony in the new world, Haiti, before the magnitude 7.3 earthquake of January 12, 2010, was best known as “the poorest country in the hemisphere” and was ranked as one of the most hungry countries in the world. More
than half the population was malnourished, most adults could neither read nor write, and
a majority had incomes averaging less than US $1 a day.
Like Lazarus, who sat at the gate of the rich man and longed for the scraps that fell from
his table (Luke 16), Haiti sits just 600 miles from the United States, one of the richest
countries in the world. Like Lazarus it has been – for most of its 200 year history –
ignored. It took an earthquake to focus the world’s attention on Haiti.
The catastrophic situation in Haiti that continues more than a month after the quake is
beyond painful. Some 200,000 people are dead and a million are homeless. Port au
Prince, a charnel house of bodies buried beneath tons of dust and rubble, remains thick
with the smells of death. Previously open spaces now sprout “sheet cities” - potential
breeding grounds for disease - lacking sanitation, clean water, adequate food and the
most basic medicines.
The late Pope John Paul II taught that “suffering is present in the world in order to release
love” (Salvifici Doloris, 30). The massive earthquake that caused such suffering also
released a tremendous outpouring of compassion. However, compassion in the present is
only useful if it serves as the foundation for a better future. We can – once the initial
ardor of compassion wanes – return to ignoring the Lazarus at our doorstep. Or we can
choose to accompany the people of Haiti in long-term solidarity. Haitians will rebuild.
They have no choice. We do.
This reflection was contributed by Lay Spiritan, Dr. Rich Gosser, who is the director of Partners in
Progress (www.PIPHaiti.org), a nonprofit organization that promotes and supports sustainable community
development in rural Haiti and is committed to long-term solidarity with its primary partner communities of
Deslandes and Fondwa.
The school programs of Fondwa, Haiti include a kindergarten, elementary section, and secondary section. Approx. 700 students are currently enrolled. The students at L’ecole Antoine are consistently excelling in the region’s state examinations for students from the 7th, 9th and 12th grades.
"Change for Haiti "
"Change for Haiti" is collected following all Masses usually on the first Sunday of each month. Funds collected are sent to St Antoine’s for change in the lives of their people. Those who contribute change as well.
Annual Second Collection
Annually, usually in the Fall, a speaker presents information on the progress in Fondwa and a collection is taken up.