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This Past Year

A Christmas Message 2018

Here we are again. Thanksgiving is over, and we are on our way to Christmas. Now is the time to reflect on the blessings we have received this past year and to look on what our donations to ABC for Haiti have done.
Our focus has changed this past year from clean water to education. One of the items on our list was to start a trade school for welding. However, I am happy to announce there was no sense in inventing the wheel. We found a 2-year trade school in the area that had training in not only welding but auto mechanics and carpentry. With Father Filho’s recommendation we sent 9 men to the school. 3 from the parish and 2 from each of the chapels. The cost? Only $200 each. We couldn’t have set up one trade for that cost.
ABC for Haiti continues to provide teacher and administration salaries for the parish school. In addition, a new school started at the Chapel of Saint Gabriel of Cherival. Here we are also helping with teacher salaries. We also helped purchase blackboards and desks for the new school as well as a new outhouse facility for the children. Special donations provided the funds for Father Fitho to purchase land the school is located on, so he could apply for a grant to build a school building. Right now, they have a wooden framed, open walled structure with a roof we provided a couple of years ago.
We also continue to provide Father with a $1000 per month stipend to operate the parish and we provide tuition assistance for 50 children.
ABC for Haiti purchases products in Haiti for all our projects. We constantly keep in mind keeping Haitians employed, stimulating their economy.
We have been successful in keeping 95% or better of your dollar to helping Haiti. There is still much to be done along with maintaining current standards which is why it is so important for you to reflect on your situation and if you can please consider increasing your donation or sending us a onetime donation.

May God continue to Bless You and may you continue sharing with those in need.

Wishing you all a Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year

Our Lady of the Rosary Parish-Haiti

Just back from my annual visit to Our Lady of the Rosary Parish in Sapaterre and would like to combine the results of my visit with a reflection on this past year and what we have been able to accomplish.

As in the past this was a good visit, short but productive. Father and I had some time to chat about business and what he felt was needed in the parish and to discuss some situations that have arisen since my last visit.  I was able to spend time visiting the people in their homes.  There is an area directly across the street from the parish that I usually visit first and then as we make our way into Hinche, via foot because in Haiti we do as the Haitians do, we stop at just about every home on the way to say hello, see how they are doing and to take photos.

school kids goofing with Mr. Art

school kids goofing with Mr. Art

Then of course there are the school children, they’re always fun to goof around with.  Kids are kids no matter where you go.

Fr. Nova at All Saints - Mesa, AZ

Fr. Nova at All Saints – Mesa, AZ

  • 2016 started off with a visit from Father Nova to our organization in Mesa, Arizona. It was a very good visit. While here, Father con-celebrated Mass at our home parish of All Saints, donations were accepted after Mass and the parishioners of All Saints were very generous. We had a dinner with Haitian rice & beans, chicken, salad and Haitian Rum cake made with rum imported from Haiti for about 60 people. Our Men’s Ministry held a pancake breakfast and donated all their profit to ABC for Haiti, and our Knights of Columbus council 9485 donated 50% of their raffle proceeds to ABC for Haiti.
  • We have taken responsibility for keeping the parish school operating by supporting the income requirements of the 9 teachers, 1 principal, 1 secretary, 2 cleaning crew members and 3 cooking staff personnel.
  • We sponsor tuition for 50 children.
  • We have begun the long and tedious task of drilling a well for water as close as possible to the chapel school at LaBeque, this school has 400 children and no water nearby. The geological survey has been taken and we are waiting results. Once we have results we will decide where to drill and hopefully very soon there will be water for the community of LaBeque.
Fresh water and a smile, what a well will do

Fresh water and a smile, what a well will do

  • We continue to provide a monthly income for the parish to use as necessary.
  • We did have to temporarily discontinue the sewing school. The machines were not up to the job and we are searching for quality machines. As soon as we have them we will start up again. Unfortunately doing business in Haiti can be quite slow. As you can imagine it is very difficult for us to locate items like sewing machines in Haiti, and with Father being so far from Port-Au-Prince it is difficult for him to find the time to get there and when he does his time is taken up by a variety of tasks.

I try to keep these to one page so before I go I would just like to thank you for your support this past year and if you should by any chance need an additional tax write off, or you’re feeling a little more generous this time of year or you’re just so proud of what we have accomplished with your help we certainly would welcome anything more you can do. There is so much more to be done!  Oh! and wouldn’t you rather help someone other than Uncle Sam??

Click here to donate: http://abcforhaiti.org/one-time-donation/

Novena to Our Lady

 

Our Lady of the Rosary Ladies Choir

Our Lady of the Rosary Ladies Choir

Cour Cadichon Children

Children of Cour Cadichon Chapel

Dancing & Singing before the Lord

Dancing & Singing before the Lord

Missionaries Choir

Missionaries Children’s Choir

Missionaries Choir

Missionaries Children’s Choir

Feast Day offering of rice, fruits and vegetables to be used for the Feast Day Celebration

Feast Day offering of rice, fruits and vegetables to be used for the Feast Day Celebration

Feast Day offering of Cash

Feast Day offering of Cash

 

The Novena to Our Lady of the Rosary continues as it enters day 8.  Just wanted to take a few moments to share with you some photos Father Nova sent.  The prayerful celebrations are shared by the entire Diocese and as I mentioned in my initial blog there would be nine priests, one for celebrating each day of the Novena.  Also there are groups from around and within the parish sharing their talents with their brothers and sisters at Our Lady of the Rosary.

As you can see in the photos, the women’s choir of the parish has been singing their praises, the children of the chapel at Cour Cadichon dance before the altar of the Lord, and the Missionaries choir has sung their praises all in honor of “Notre Dam Nan Kolye A” and in preparation for the big feast day celebration this Wednesday, October 7.

On Sunday Oct 4 the members of the parish, during the offertory of the Mass bring their offerings, of rice, beans, vegetables, fruits and animals and cash to be used for the feast day celebration.

I pray that you, along with team ABC for Haiti have been able to remember them in prayer these past 7 days and will continue to do so for the next couple of days.

The photos of the Missionaries Choir have a special significance and I will blog about them shortly after the feast day.

Two things to notice in the photos – one the size of their little church, the congregation will be inside and outside during the Feast Day, also notice the difference in the decorations, as the feast day nears they become a little more elaborate.  I tell you despite their condition they take much pride in their faith and make do with what they have to give glory to God.

God Bless all you do

Art

 

It’s That Time of Year Again

Attention

Line Up – Remember when?

Preparing for Mass

Preparing for Mass

Heading home

New Back Packs for everyone

New coat of paint at the parish school

New coat of paint at the parish school

New benches

New benches

It’s that time of year again, not only here in the U.S. but in Haiti as well. Summer is unofficially over and school is in session. September 7 marked the first day of school at LaBeque, a chapel of Our Lady of the Rosary.

This past week, September 14 marked the first day of school at the parish school, Our Lady of the Rosary, at Sapaterre.

Father Nova and I generally keep in touch on Sunday mornings and when I e-mailed him he was on his way to LaBeque to pray the Mass with the children for the start of their new school year. The pictures above are of the children of LaBeque in formation, getting ready for Mass in the church and wearing their new school backpacks. This year each of the children received a backpack, donated from another charitable organization. The children were very happy to have them and Father Nova was very happy for them, as are we. All total between LaBeque and Our Lady of the Rosary schools, 500 backpacks were given to the students.

Father was also able to arrange for a fresh coat of paint on the outside of the parish school, you might remember back in February this year myself along with Mike and Doug made a trip to Our Lady of the Rosary and along with several locals painted the inside of the class room, and with our help Father was able to replace 20 school benches with brand new ones.

While we are very happy for the start of school and the gifts given, it is not that time of year for the chapel at Chereval. We are a little saddened that we are still unable to start even a small school at Chereval. If you remember from previous blogs, when I visited them in February this year their only request was a school for their children. They know the way out of poverty is through education. They didn’t ask for money, they didn’t ask for clothing, not even food. All they wanted and still want is a place for their children to begin getting an education – a hand up, not a hand out.

Between the chapels of  Chereval and Cour Cadichon, there are probably another 300 plus children in need of an education. Wouldn’t it be nice next year to say It’s That Time of Year for Our Lady of the Rosary and all 3 of the chapels assigned to Father Nova?

With God’s Grace and your support all things are possible.

God Bless

Art

EXPERIENCE

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In February this past year, two friends of mine, Mike from Minnesota (on the left) and Doug from Rhode Island (on the right)visited Haiti with me for the experience of a life time.  We had a project to do but that was just a means to the end.  To experience the situation in Port-au-Prince as we travelled out of town was eye opening.  Living the experience for a week among the poor of the Central Plateau at Our Lady of the Rosary was inspiring for them to say the least.  I hope I have adequately captured their reactions and experience.

Michael is a very detail oriented person and needs to know what, when, where, and how at all times no matter the situation and yet somewhere in all this “need to know” is a big heart of compassion.  From the minute we got off the plane in Port-Au-Prince Mike had one question after the other about life in Haiti and at times found it very hard to understand how it could be like this.  For example, where do the people work, make money to buy things and food?  It was difficult for him to understand the people we serve in the central plateau have very little resources.  There is no industry and they basically take each day at a time, selling food on the street, maybe selling a few vegetables or herbs they grew in their yard, maybe selling a chicken or two.  Maybe a little carpentry or brick work if it is available.  Whatever comes their way!  Now as soon as we went out to meet the people of the parish, Michael began to understand and his big heart began to show.  He was warm, and kind, and loving to everyone and loved the children and having his photo taken with them.  He wanted to give everything he had with him, unfortunately unless you have enough for everyone you can’t do this.  Michael had to do something and he did.  One morning we were sitting under the tree by the road and recess began at the school.  There is a man who sells sugar cane to the children who have a few pennies.  Michael made sure every child got sugar cane that day.

Doug is an easy going kind of happy guy and more or less takes things in stride.  Doug was in need of a spiritual boost and he sure came to the right place.  It’s hard not to get a spiritual boost when you see the poverty, yet experience the warm welcomes, the smiles, the joy, the faith that God will somehow provide, these people have despite their situation.  Here when they pray “give us this day our daily bread”, they depend and believe it will happen. Doug’s biggest connection was with the children. Doug has always been good with children, a stern and loving father always wanting his children to make a good life and now a devoted grandfather. The photo above I think says it all.  If there is one theme with Doug and his experience it is Education.  He recognizes Fr. Nova’s commitment to education of his parish, his aides, and those he teaches at a variety of schools in the Diocese.

Think about it – Jesus spent His life teaching the people of His time and continues to teach us in His Holy Gospel.

If you were to ask either of these men I’m sure there would be no hesitation in encouraging you to make a visit to Haiti or some other place to experience the good that is being done for others.  You cannot come back home without a change in attitude and without making new friends with each other and those your serve.

It was a blessing for me to have them with me and I hope there will be many more who will want to learn by experience.

Art

GRADUATION 2015

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Graduation is many things to many people and this graduating class of 2015 is no different.  We are so pleased and excited to announce the first graduating class of the Trade School at Our Lady of the Rosary.

For one entire year these graduates spent their afternoons learning the fundamentals of sewing both in theory and in practice.  Sunday, April 12, Divine Mercy Sunday, 8 women and 2 men graduated.  I had the privilege of not only receiving a hand made shirt from the class but also to see the fruits of their labor – they did a great job!

Congratulations – We are so proud of you!

How appropriate they should hold their graduation on Divine Mercy Sunday.  It is this devotion that we have in common.   We pray for each other through this devotion; it is our spiritual connection.

Arriving at this day was not without its struggles.  Originally the class started with about 50 women and men with one teacher for each group.  As time went on some had to drop out for various reasons, the biggest one; finances.  The fee required to attend the class, which were to be used to pay the teachers, was too much for many and those who did stay couldn’t afford all of the funds and Father Nova made it his responsibility to take care of the teacher salaries out of his pocket.  This is not to put a negative spin on the day, it’s just a fact of life in Haiti.

As an organization we are looking at what we can do to support this program for the future and still have at least a small fee which we believe draws ownership and pride in what you are doing and what you accomplish in the end.  So, while we will continue to support this program we will try our best depending on our finances to make it affordable to as many as possible.

Enough talk! Enjoy the photos of the graduates and their work on the photo page.

May God continue to Bless you abundantly!

Art

A Blessed Easter to All

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ABC for Haiti wishes a Blessed Easter to all as we begin the Triduum on this Holy Thursday.  As we celebrate the Lord’s Supper this evening, His passion and death on Good Friday and contemplate His time in the grave on Holy Saturday and His joyous and glorious Resurrection on Easter, I ask you to keep us in prayer and to keep our parish family in Haiti in prayer too. 

You will be in our prayers as we travel this personal and public journey increasing our understanding of our faith and our beliefs; remembering the great sacrifice Our Lord made for our salvation and remembering our obligation to be brothers and sisters of Christ, patterning our lives as close as possible to His.  Remembering also we have a responsibility to one another as brothers and sisters. 

Our parish family in Haiti will be praying for us as we pray for them.  This is the one thing we can do for each other.  We shoulder the greater burden to help our brothers and sisters in need and your generosity, care, and love for the poor not only in Haiti but throughout the world is recognized not only by us but by Our Father in Heaven.

As we wish you A Blessed Easter our prayer for you:   

May our Risen Lord Bless You, physically, emotionally, and spiritually each according to your need.

Team ABC for Haiti

He is Risen!

Allelluia!!

Living the Gospel

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Living the Gospel – a modern day story of those who do!

 Sunday I received a phone message that a dear friend who distributes communion to her community at one of the local senior citizens homes had some money that her group of 11 communicants had collected to donate to Haiti.  I returned her call on Monday with the intention of making her one of several stops that evening on the way home.  We ended up making a dinner engagement.  So, after an hour and a half meeting with someone else who would like to help us, I arrived around 6 to pick her up for dinner.  She handed me a package and said it was from her communicants.  I took it, thanked her and tucked it under the sun visor in my truck and we went to dinner.

                We had a nice dinner and chat at one of the local Asian diners.  It’s been a while since we had spent some time together.  To make this long story short we finished about 7:30, I dropped her off at home and headed back to my place pretty much exhausted after a day that started at 3:30 AM.

                When I finally did get home, I opened the manila envelope, expecting to find maybe $20-$30.  Remember now these are retired seniors living in a senior center.  There were three envelopes inside, two for $50 each and one for $140 for a total of $240, all cash.  I was blown away!

                You can’t imagine how many people I have talked to about our organization who have good incomes and are not shy about telling you how they spent it on themselves, and then when asked if they would be willing to share a minimum of $20 per month to help children, families, and a parish in need in Haiti, I get “I’m sorry, I just couldn’t afford it”.  Yet, senior citizens and I’m talking about senior, senior citizens can come up with $240!  Guess what?  That’s $20 per person.  I can’t help but think of the Gospel story about the Pharisee and the poor woman putting their offering into the plate.  The Pharisee with great pomp and circumstance gives of his abundance with no harm to his lifestyle and the poor woman gives the few pennies she has, giving of her sustenance. 

                This, my dear friends is a real time example of living the Gospel.  Next time someone asks for your help and you want to say “I can’t afford it” Think! – can you not afford it or is it just an excuse?

 If you would like to donate monthly click here http://abcforhaiti.org/monthly-support/ and make your monthly donation.

 If you would like to make a one-time donation click here http://abcforhaiti.org/ and click on any of the red donate buttons and make your one time donation.

God Bless

Art

A Very Blessed Christmas

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Jesus the Christ –  Savior of the World

As we patiently and thoughtfully await the celebration of the Birth of Our Lord all of us at Action By Christians for Haiti in concert with Fr. Nova of Our Lady of the Rosary and his people in Haiti, take this time to wish you all a very Blessed Christmas and to once again thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your generous support this past year.

As I sit here in the White Mountains of Arizona, a gentle snow is falling, the Christmas tree is lit and the manger scene is on display under the tree – reminding us of the real reason of Christmas in the Christian Calendar.  As I look upon the manger I see shepherds and wise men bringing gifts to the Christ Child. I see shepherds giving the gift of their lowliness and service, the wise men bringing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, precious, expensive, gifts along with their adoration and service too.  He came to save all of us the lowly as well as those who have much.  Let us look upon these shepherds and wise men and give to Him, our Incarnate God, gifts from His Blessings to us.

As always you are in our prayers and will be remembered especially during Mass on Christmas Day.  May God continue to Bless you and your family abundantly!

Merry Christmas!

Art, Bea, Bernie, Pattie, Pat, Marianne, Elaine, Carol, Eric, Chris, and Mark

Another New School Year Begins

DSC_0235              school children 2013 044                

Action by Christians for Haiti is excited about several new programs to make the school year most rewarding for children, teachers, and pastor!

Just like here in the states and around the globe, another new school year begins at Our Lady of the Rosary.  Children and parents will be doing the best they can to prepare for school which is scheduled to start September 8 and  most children  of Our Lady of the Rosary I am sure are eager to get back to their studies.

We at ABC for Haiti are also eager for them to return.  We have been able to fund several new projects that we hope will help make their 2014-2015 school year a pleasant experience.

First, we have funded the building of a water closet, in our terminology a rest room, actually an outhouse.  Yes, a rest room.  Don’t forget, indoor plumbing is not very common in the rural areas of Haiti where we do our work.  So, it was very important to be able to provide a water closet that will consist of 6 stalls, 4 for the children and 2 for the teachers.   Water will be available for washing of hands for sanitary purposes.

Second, we have been able to fund our second increase in teacher salaries bringing their salary to a competitive level with other teachers.  This will enable Fr. Nova to insure he has qualified teachers and know his children are receiving the best education possible.

Third, we have also funded the salary for a secretary for Fr. Nova.  You would be hard pressed to imagine how busy and exhausting a day the pastor has trying to maintain the parish, provide support for his people, and to keep up with his professorial duties assigned by the Bishop.  Not to mention praying and preparing for Mass and the sacraments as well as keeping in touch with and serving the 3 chapels also assigned to him.  A secretary will be quite the blessing.

Fourth and very important indeed, we were able to add an additional 13 children to our sponsorship program bringing the total of children sponsored for elementary education at the parish to 40.

Last but not least, we are putting together a working mission trip to Our Lady of the Rosary for sometime in February to paint the classrooms at the parish school.  More details will follow as soon as they are worked out.  Start thinking today – maybe you would like to make the trip with us?

Mèsi Bondye pou générosité ou

Art