Haiti Sister-Parish

 

Annual Haiti Campaign

For the past 13 years St. Joseph Parish has had a Sister Parish relationship with St. Peter’s of Poteau, Haiti. Our parish commitment is to provide funding for the Feed and Educate Program. The purpose of the Feed and Educate Program is to provide a hot nutritious lunch to the 425 students, grades pre-K thru 9 who attend St. Peter’s Catholic School 5 days a week. The funds also pay the teachers salaries. The lunch is rice and beans cooked in the school kitchen. The cost of the program for the school year ending June 2019 was $50,000. The amount committed for next school year is $60,000. Our parish contributions allowed St. Joseph’s Church to send $50,000 for this school year. THANK YOU.
 

Why is the annual cost $60,000?

Every year Fr. Merat, the pastor of St. Peter’s of Poteau, provides a very detailed list of the amount of food needed, cooking supplies as well a breakdown of teacher salaries for the annual budget. The Haiti Ministry reviews this budget to set the annual fundraising goal.
 
This year, due to the extreme political unrest in Haiti and high inflation, Fr. Merat has shared the cost for the Feed and Educate Program will be much higher, The actual cost is more than $60,000.  The Haiti Ministry has agreed to keep the annual fundraising goal at $60,000. If this goal for the Feed and Educate program is exceeded those additional funds will be sent to St. Peter’s for needed food and teacher’s salaries.
 
Why are two years of Pre-K important? St. Peter’s has three school programs: two years of pre-K; Kindergarten through 6 grade school; and middle school (7th to 9th grades). For those students in Pre-K for many of them do not get sufficient nutrition vital to their growth and development at home, so the lunch meal from the school is vital to their development. Pre-school work prepares them for success when they get to the 1st grade.
 
Why is Middle School (7th, 8th, and 9th Grades) important?
Prior to the addition of grades 7-9, students completing grade 6 would have to apply and attend middle school somewhere else in the community. Almost all 6th graders were passing the national exam and able to apply to another school but the cost was prohibitive for many families. Their education would stop there. With the addition of the middle school grades, the student’s education can continue and if they pass the national exam each year, students will be able to apply to high schools in the Gonaive area.
 
Where are the Middle School Graduates going?
Last year our parish supported 14 students in their first year of high school (10th grade) . The cost for a year of tuition and books is $1,000. These students hope to continue to 11th grade. In addition, the current 9th grade class has a similar number of students hoping to pass the national exam and attend high school.
 
Our first priority is the Feed and Educate Program. If, after supporting the Feed and Educate Program, you would like to give the gift of high school education, please check the scholarship box and what amount you would like donate on the flyer or check the Scholarship box with online giving or indicate how you would like your check to be applied on the memo line of your check. All of the scholarship funds will be given to Fr. Merat to be shared with the high school students. A High School education is truly a gift that changes lives forever.
 
How does the Haiti Ministry Committee oversee and audit this program?
The Haiti Ministry Committee meets monthly to provide updates on the program. The committee is in contact with the pastor at least monthly via text messages regarding updates on the program. Until this year 3-4 parishioners from St. Joseph have visited our sister parish, St. Peter’s in Poteau. The visit fosters a sense of spiritual support, a visit to the school and teachers, as well as a chance to speak in depth with the pastor about the program. Fr. Merat is a very wonderful host.
 
This year there was no trip due to the political unrest and concern for the safety of the travelers. It is hoped that a visit can be scheduled for next year. Two ministry members who are traveling to Haiti for a Medical Mission in May will be visited by Fr. Merat.  They will share what they will have learned as an up on the on the program with the ministry members.
 
Fr. Merat comes to visit St. Joseph annually. During the visit he talks with our pastor, the Haiti Ministry committee members, delivers an address to the parish at masses and greets parishioners at our annual Spaghetti Dinner. This is usually in the fall.
 
Regional Archdiocese of Baltimore Haiti Sister Parish Information
There are several parishes in Anne Arundel County who also have a Sister Parish relationship with a parish in the Diocese of Gonaives, Haiti. Twice a year a representative from each Anne Arundel County parishes meet to discuss the details of the Feed and Educate Program in their Sister Parishes. In the most recent meeting (April 2019) we learned that political unrest, violence and high inflation have affected all the schools supported by a sister parish. This is not good news but good to know the circumstances are similar.
 
The other parishes in Anne Arundel County with Sister Parishes in the Diocese of Gonaives are St. Bernadette, St. Elizabeth Seton, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Edgewater, and Christ the King Glen Burnie. Our St. Joseph Haiti Ministry is very glad to have the opportunity to share with these Anne Arundel parishes as another way to add accountability to our program.
 
Accomplishing Special Projects
Over the 13-year relationship, St. Joseph has helped with providing a new 2 story school building, a deep well, and a security fence around the church/school compound for St. Peter’s. Funding has NOT come from the Feed and Educate budget but rather from large donations left by parishioners in their wills.
 
This past year we received a donation from a deceased Haiti Ministry member, Joe Sanchez. With his funds the older school buildings are receiving new roofs. No more rain inside while trying to teach and learn! This was a project very dear to Joe’s heart when he visited the school on several trips.

Save the Dates!

May 2019
Haiti Ministry Members will be passing out updated flyers to begin fundraising for the school year of 2019-2020 toward our $60,000 goal.
 
Fall 2019
Spaghetti Dinner to celebrate our relationship with St. Peter’s Poteau and welcome the pastor, Fr. Jean Merat.
 
Monthly Meeting
The Haiti Ministry Committee meets on the 2nd Wednesday of the month in the church lounge at 7 PM. Please feel free to join us.

 

For More Information / Get Involved

  • Visitors and new members always welcome!
  • Attend our monthly meeting held on the second Wednesday at 7 PM in the Lounge.
  • Join us for the spaghetti dinner held every Fall.
  • Contribute to the annual campaign.
Any questions about the Haiti Sister-Parish Ministry can be directed to Gary Grey at gkgrey@gmail.com.