ROCOR HAITI MISSION STRUGGLES FOR SURVIVAL
Despite a great response from concerned supporters, the Orthodox mission in Haiti is still without guaranteed means of survival. There are about 3,000 Russian Orthodox Christians in Haiti, most of them indigenous. The number constantly increases, owing to the tireless missionary efforts of the island’s two Russian Orthodox priests, Fr. Jean Chenier-Dumais, and Fr. Gregoire Legouté.
The faithful gather in tiny rented buildings for services, the priests share one car to travel for hours across the country on unpaved roads across mountainous areas in order for parishioners in five parishes to lead some form of church life.
There is no social support system in the country, and people have to rely on the Church to provide education and healthcare. The mission is raising money to build a health center and clinic. The three mission schools provide basic education, as well as the fundamentals of Orthodoxy. Students pray every day, and teachers of Catechism are always available to teach and guide.
“We have an obligation to ensure that our parishioners and other local young people get an education. It’s the only way to give a better future to the children of our country,” wrote Fr. Gregoire Legouté in an email.
One of the schools (Le Foyer d’Amour in Port au Prince) educates mentally and physically handicapped children. The school is very popular; some families travel daily up to six hours by public transportation to bring their children. Some parents carry kids who are unable to walk on their backs all the way to school, as the roads are unpaved and wheelchairs are impossible to use.
In order to help their parishioners exit poverty, the mission has started a microcredit system to allow them to generate an income by starting an enterprise. To date, they have provided 34 people with micro credits.
In 2009 your generosity made it possible for the mission to pay rent on their rented church property, assist eight families to overcome the effects of the hurricanes of 2008; pay tuition and scholarship for 183 children from poor families; subsidize parish schools; pay for priests’ trips to parishes, and pay priests their salaries.
However, many families still live in houses wrecked by the hurricanes of 2008. The mission’s only church built with donations from all over ROCOR, as well as all of their church books in French have been illegally taken away from them by schismatics after the Reunification with the Moscow Patriarchate in 2007; they have no money to pay a lawyer to get it back or to buy new land to build a new church.
A list of their needs includes money for rent, tuition, for the purchase of land to build a church, a clinic and health center; pay priests’ salaries; buy another car to enable the priests to travel to parishes; repair houses wrecked during the hurricanes.
The mission is still in danger of dying out. Please don’t let this happen.
To subscribe to our mailing list, please enter your email address and name.