Haiti Outreach Ministry
Serving Our Brothers and Sisters in Haiti
The Catholic parishes of Blessed Sacrament in Harrisonburg and St. Isidore on the island of La Gonave, Haiti, have shared an evolving “twin” relationship since the late 1970s. At that time, one of the Missionhurst missionaries serving on La Gonave traveled through the Shenandoah Valley seeking assistance.
While the Missionhursts have gone and Haitian priests now run the island’s parishes, to the benefit of the local Catholic community, the churches still need outside financial support. They receive no help from the cash-strapped Diocese of Port au Prince.
Our relationship with St. Isidore has endured, weathering and growing through dictatorships, coups and democratic elections. Through natural disasters and most recently the earthquake of 2010, Blessed Sacrament has stood in solidarity with our twin parish, its pastor and the many chapels and schools that fall under St. Isidore’s vast umbrella of pastoral service.
In June 2012, Fr. Jean Marceau Dieudonné was assigned as St. Isidore’s pastor. Fr. “D” immediately impressed the team with both his pastoral and leadership qualities as well as his strong sense of financial accountability.
Each month Blessed Sacrament sends money to Fr. Dieudonné to help him serve the needs of St. Isidore, including eight remote chapels within the parish. This money Blessed Sacrament parishioners donate through sponsorships and the first Sunday of the month collection helps provide:
• Operating budget for St. Isidore parish.
• Living expenses for Fr. Dieudonné.
• Tuition for some of the students who can least afford to stay in school.
• Social ministry to people who come to the rectory for food, medicine, shelter etc.
• Teacher salaries at St. John Baptist School.
• Support for the operation of of Ste. Bernadette School, including teacher salaries and continuing education and maintenance and improvement of the physical structures.
• Development of educational resources at two schools.
• A hot lunch program that provides weekly meals at Ste. Bernadette and up to three meals a week at the poorer St. Jean Baptiste chapel school, as funds permit.
• Maintenance of parish infrastructure, including the solar power system, internet capabilities and a parish truck, which we replaced in 2012.
• A small business micro-lending program.
On behalf of Fr. Dieudonné and the Haiti Outreach Ministry at Blessed Sacrament, we would like to thank our parish community and friends of the ministry for their steadfast and generous support of our twin parish.
If you would like more information on the Haiti Outreach Ministry, please contact Dave Fritz (540) 255-9973