February 2018

posted May 11, 2018, 11:25 AM by Friar Suppliers

“The Lord is great and worthy to be praised.”

Greetings to all of you.  So much has happened since I typed the last Newsletter.  I hope I can squeeze it all into one letter. I want to begin by telling you all (if you haven’t heard) that Fr. Andrew Apostoli passed away peacefully on Dec. 13th after battling cancer for the past year.  He was a true icon of Christ and a faithful servant of the Church. He will be greatly missed.

Our mission trip to Haiti was very exciting, rewarding, successful, and fun.  We were a large group of 35 missionaries. Everyone was on different teams.

We had 3 priests: Fr. Innocent, Fr John Mary, and Fr. Terry ministering to all of our sacramental needs which included Mass every day, holy hour and Rosary.  Fr. Innocent Baptized a Haitian baby of one of our workers and did a funeral rite for a 3 year old orphan named Donnelson who died at the orphanage while we were in Haiti.  This was so sad. He was all alone in this world but we were all there for him to pray and give him a his final blessings. All of us were greatly moved by this experience. Thank you Fathers for being with us.  You brought Jesus to us all.

We also had 9 CFR brothers with us: Br Benjamin, Br Juniper, Br. Joseph, Br. John David, Br. Lawrence, Br. Shawn, Br. Oisin, Br. Pier Georgio, and Br. Francois who worked on all the different teams. Thank you brothers for giving the gift of yourselves to all of us.  Each of you contributed your own unique talents, gifts, and spirit to all of us.

We had 4 CFR Sisters with us who did alot of evangelization; Sr. Jacinta, Sr. Mae, Sr. Josephine, and Sr. Kolbe. They visited homes and classrooms, taught the children songs and skits, held and cuddled orphans, listened to countless tales of woe, and offered lots of prayer and encouragement to everyone. Thank you sisters for adding the feminine, maternal touch to all of us.  You were mothers to us all.

The rest of us lay people had plenty of jobs to do.  Nineteen of us bagged rice, beans, and cornmeal, sorted and gave out clothing and shoes and food.  People in Haiti are so needy that they don’t care what it is. Color, style, male, female or size, if they can get it on, it works for them. The lay people were a “mixed bag of young and old” from various places, with various skills and talents. Everyone worked hard and gave selflessly of themselves.  Thank you for being missionaries.

Two members of our group had special jobs.  One was Rodney from New Mexico. We met him in New Mexico last May and invited him to come with us.   He invented and patented a water purifying system. He came, tested all the water in all the various places, set up his purifying system and taught key Haitian people how to test and monitor the system.  There is now clean purified water in the entire village which serves thousands of people. He then moved on to other parts of Haiti to do the same. We were all in awe of this man’s kindness, generosity and skill.  Thank you Rodney for being such an gift to the people of Haiti and our team.

The other member was Mike from Pittsburg, Pa.  Mike is an electrician. Mike installed ceiling fans in every room at the Mission where we stayed.  It was hard work and confusing outdated wiring. He did a great job and made such a difference in the comfort of everyone living and working at the mission.  His generosity, cheerfulness, and spirit made him an irreplaceable member of our team. Thank you, MIke

Everyday in Haiti was busy and exciting.  There was work going on all day long. Ten Haitian women cooked all day long to feed all of us.   They cooked 3 hot meals a day for about 100 people. Cooking was done as always outside on charcoal.  Chickens, goats, and other mystery meat was slaughtered right there and prepared. Eggs were gathered from the coups. Dishes were washed by hand in bowls of water.  These women worked so hard for fifteen hours each day. All of our tee shirts were washed by hand each day. One young 16 year old Haitian girl, Anne Marie, was amazing.  She worked tirelessly and joined with us in every activity. She was full of spirit and love was for everyone she met. Everyone loved Anne Marie.

In the lumber yard, teams of men built and pre-assembled houses, latrines and chicken coups.  Then other teams transported them to the sites, where other teams assembled them. Some of these sites were in very difficult places to reach; up and down steep mountainous terrain, often carrying on their backs the lumber, tools, generator and water. It’s a beautiful thing to watch the precision, cooperation, and comradery that goes with all the men; Haitians and Americans all working together.  What a beautiful sight to see.

I wish I could describe to you what it “feels” like to be on a mission trip in Haiti.  We’ve told you stories and shown you pictures and videos. Our senses take in so much; the different sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touch all add to our experience which we can’t give you unless you are there. What we feel in our hearts and emotions has to be experienced.   Let me tell you about Son-son (nickname). Son-son is about 14 years old and paralyzed on the left side of his body caused by a fever when he was too young to remember. He lives with his sister not much older than him. He can walk somehow with great effort. He is sad to look at.  He speaks little and rarely smiles. Son-son showed up one morning in our compound. Of course, we were all over him with assistance; clothing, shoes, food, physical therapy and lots of tender loving care. He followed us everywhere and did his best to be apart of our group. It was obvious to us that he was an outcast, alone and lonely. We all did our best to love him.  When it came time for us to leave, he was there to say goodbye. The tears were rolling down his sad face. If we came to Haiti to make a difference, it was in this one poor soul. It was worth the trip if even just for him.

We can’t thank you enough for for generosity to help make all this possible.  We couldn’t have done any of this without your financial assistance, encouragement and prayers.  All of us who went feel very humbled by the experience. We are so grateful to all of you who helped make this happen and for the opportunity to bring Jesus to the poorest of the poor.  Thank you!