Part One of Seven
After several years of setting aside money every month with the idea of Sistering or Sponsoring a Parish in need, in 1999 the Social Concerns Committee decided it was TIME to study the possibilities and go ahead with the plan. After talking with people from other Parishes who were doing this and having representatives from St. Matthew, St. Joseph’s and St. Jude’s come and speak to the Committee, it was decided that we would contact the program that St. Jude’s had been working with for about 15 years Parish Twinning Program of the Americas. This we presented to Fr. Lang, Pastor at that time, and he wholeheartedly agreed for the Committee to proceed.
Teresa Patterson, National Director of the Parish Twinning Program of the Americas (PTPA) was contacted and after filing several pieces of information with her, Kathleen Todd, the Chairperson of the Social Concerns Committee at that time, was put in contact with Fr. Antonio, the Pastor of Belle Fontaine Parish. Correspondence between them continued for several months and via a letter dated January 26th, 2000 All Saints and Notre Dame de Lourdes were twinned.
April 24th of 2002 the First Team from All Saints went to Haiti to start getting acquainted with Father Antonio and the Community at Our Lady of Lourdes. John and Laura Locher, Ann and Larry Hunter, and Kathleen Todd were joined by their interpreter Edna Volny. On this first trip Teresa Patterson accompanied the team on their visit to Mare Minerve chapel and helped them get acquainted and begin to establish what we hoped would be a long-term relationship.
In October of 2003 Fr. Antonio was able to visit Iowa and celebrate Mass at All Saints. He also visited All Saints school, area museums, and of course many homes and restaurants. Fr. Antonio was very interesting in how agriculture worked here in Iowa compared to the villages of Belle Fontaine so he visited area farms and was able to ride in a combine harvesting corn.
Between January 26, 2000 and October 2003 $40,800 was sent to our Sister Parish Notre Dame de Lourdes this was just the beginning of the support for the teachers and the education system in 24 chapels in the mountainous region of Belle Fontaine Haiti. Over time we would learn of the more than 100 teachers and 5000 students in this parochial school system that serves all the children of the many villages surrounding the 24 chapels.
This is where you all come in. Our mission in Haiti is EDUCATION – particularly helping improve teacher salaries. If we have teachers, the communities will have schools. The children will have role models that make a difference in their lives. They will see teachers as persons to emulate and will want to become teachers themselves. And with adequate pay for their work, teachers can make a better living and provide for their families.
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.