Back From Port-Au-Prince
The rectory of St. Jude and St Simon
Thank you all for your prayers for our trip. I returned last night after a three day visit to Sts. Simon and Jude parish in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. We met the pastor, Father Andrew, a missionary priest from the Philippines who has been in Haiti for three years under the archdiocese of PAP. He was an extremely gracious host who put us up in his rectory for three days. We went to Mass daily and saw his church and the surrounding neighborhoods. We also had the opportunity to spend time with other young priests who are pastors over parishes in the more remote mountainous areas outside of the city. Many of these parishioners are illiterate so the daily Mass is a perfect way for them to hear three readings of God's Word. (Kinda like the early days of the Church!)
Father Andrew explained his desire to see a medical clinic established in his parish and we nailed down the logistics for making this happen in the next 6 months. We also went to the Matthew 25 House, a guest house for missionaries that is run by Sister Mary, a retired nurse educator with a PhD in Nursing Education. She taught at Temple University School of Nursing when my late wife was studying to be a nurse there. Very small world! Sister Mary had much insight into the medical issues and needs in the Delmas community of PAP and it was delightful to chat with her for almost 2 hours. She gave us a tour of her guest house as we anticipated taking our group to stay there for our upcoming trip.
By the end of our visit, Father Andrew decided that we
should stay with him on our next trip and he has room for a team of 8 members. He has electricity 24/7 because of the use of a battery/inverter system, something which we have not had on previous trips.
I never cease to be amazed by the universality of the Catholic Church (forgive the redundancy). Despite not being able to speak or understand the Creole language, I could actively participate in the Mass with my Haitian brothers and sisters from start to finish! When we went to Mass at 4 PM on our first day, there were over 60 people for daily Mass and at the 6 AM Mass the following morning there were almost 30.
I will have more pics and video to come. Thanks for all your prayers and please keep Father Andrew and the folks in his parish in your prayers. He is in the middle of a building project and the cost of materials has skyrocketed in Haiti.
The closing song at Mass. (Note how the altar server
holds the scriptures high, showing the tremendous
respect the Universal Church has for the Bible)