Lenten Alms Beginning Thoughts

Walking on a mountain trail in Haiti can be tricky. The winding paths are often made of loose gravel and the stones beneath your feet can shift. A small stone or two might bounce down the mountainside, perhaps dislodging some others that, in turn, upset a few more until what began as a trickle of pebbles becomes a small avalanche.

The financial support we give our sister parish in Haiti is like that. Small actions create larger chain reactions.

When we send a dollar to help pay the salary of a village schoolteacher, we’re helping him or her buy food and shelter. We’re telling those teachers their work is important. It has value and we appreciate it.

But the story doesn’t stop there. When that teacher pays rent, the landlord gets a dollar to spend on lumber he buys from a farmer. The farmer uses the money to have his shoes repaired by a cobbler. The shoemaker pays a merchant for grain to feed his chickens. On and on until the single dollar paid to the schoolteacher has helped create an avalanche of market transactions, helping buoy up many individual villagers and, therefore, the community as a whole.

When the school uses another dollar to purchase supplies such as notebooks, pencils and text books, or hygiene and antiseptic necessities such as soap, or classroom desks, tables and chairs, that dollar starts another avalanche of market transactions.

Take those dollars and multiply them a hundredfold and you may begin to realize the impact your financial contributions have on our brothers and sisters in Belle Fontaine: In a community burdened with poverty, it makes the difference between hope and despair.

The financial support we provide our sister parish educational system directly fosters the following possibilities:

1.teacher salaries;
2. school uniforms;
3. classroom supplies and basic equipment;
4. student health and personal hygiene instruction;
5. gardening cooperatives to train students new farming techniques; and
6. environment of community and individual opportunity that reduces crime and delinquency, initiates village projects, and improves overall well-being.

During this Lenten season, look for more information in the weekly bulletin about each of these impacts.

Beginning Ash Wednesday, you will find envelopes in the pews to contribute your Lenten alms. Please take one home and return it with your donation on or before Holy Thursday Mass April 9th. Any amount would be welcome and useful. A goal donation is $150.

We raise half of our annual budget for education support in Haiti during Lent. Keep our family in Haiti in your hearts this Lent, take an Alms envelope home, and give generously. Renmen Bondye, Sèvi Lòt Moun, Fòm Disip (Love God, Serve Others, Form Disciples).

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