Part Six of Seven
On March 4th, 2016 Father Jean Eddy Louis is announced as the new pastor of Notre Dame de Lourdes. Father Magloire had served 6 years as the pastor of the 24 chapels and administrator of the schools and teachers. At this point in time we had visited our sister parish 13 times. We had done 12 Lenten Alms fundraisers, 10 Fall Fundraisers, and our 1st Run for the Least 5K. We were getting ready to send our 9th Sea-Crate. We were a little concerned how this new priest would be able to handle the distribution of 300 boxes!!!
In August of 2016 Cate Biro and Steve Schmitz traveled to Haiti to meet Father Eddy. This was a continuation of the practice of meeting our sister parish priest before and team visits or money transfers. The face to face meeting establishes the relationship and forms the beginning bonds of trust. Father Eddy proved to be a gracious and energetic host. His first stated priority was education!
Father Eddy expressed what he perceived to be the key values and benefits of the chapel school system in Notre Dame de Lourdes. The first of these is that it provides education near home. The children can walk to school. They are able to stay with their parents each night and they know many of the kids in class already from growing up with them. And, as some of us might remember, the entire village knows what they are doing and what they have done. All news gets back home to the parents, good and bad.
The second benefit is the reliability of the chapel schools. This has proven especially valuable recently during the now more than a year long period of unrest in Haiti. Many of the public schools in Port au Prince and the surrounding suburbs have been closed much of the past school year due to the dangers of traveling the streets. In contrast, all of the 24 chapel schools have been in session with little notice of the happenings in the city.
The affordability of the chapel schools. As with many parochial schools there is support available for those families that cannot afford the full tuition. Tuition at each of the chapel schools varies to match the economy of the surrounding area. In addition to this, our continual financial support of the education system provides a substantial portion of the teacher salaries and our sea-crate shipments provide a significant amount of schools supplies to the chapel schools. All of this means the school system can provide education in the villages as inexpensively as possible.
The Faith formation that takes place in the chapel schools is the same as it is in our parish schools. The children study the Catholic faith, participate in the sacraments, attend Mass and sing in the choir and perform stunning dances celebrating their faith during Mass.
The teachers demonstrate stewardship by their willingness to teach in the chapel schools. The children see them as role models who value the lifestyle of the villages as well as the value of a good education. Like many teachers here, they speak of their passion for giving the children the opportunity to learn to read and write, to understand math and geography, and to learn about nutrition and hygiene.
All of this is possible because you have supported the sister parish mission of All Saints for the past 20 years.
Your Lenten Alms will aid in continuing these educational efforts!
Please click on the link below to contribute.
Contributions may be mailed to:
All Saints Haiti Committee
720 29th St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52403
Please include the notation “Education Support Fund.”
Renmen Bondye, Sèvi Lòt Moun, Fòm Disip
Love God, Serve Others, Form Disciples.