NEW YORK: February 27, 2009
The Clergymen of the Haiti Orthodox Mission Send a Letter to the Fund for Assistance
to the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
In the summer of 2008, the island nation of Haiti, the poorest of the Caribbean, was struck by three destructive hurricanes. Last September, with the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, the Fund for Assistance to the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia launched a campaign to help the ROCOR parishioners of Haiti. Almost $19,500 has already been raised.
Our brothers and sisters are enduring hunger and need, and hope for our help. Donations can be made through the Fund’s website.
Fr Gregoir Legoute of Haiti writes how the donations have helped the members of our Church there:
“May God bless all who have so generously donated to the Fund for Assistance in order to help the Orthodox Mission in Haiti. I will attempt to explain how this money has so effectively helped our Orthodox faithful in Haiti. At Jacmel, we assisted ten families with twenty children (ages 6-12 ) who have no way to educate their children because they are very poor. Thanks to the Fund, we have paid the tuition for those children.
“At Jacmel, we have also found housing for two families whose homes were destroyed by the hurricanes.
“Cayes is also a place in great need at the parish of St John of San Francisco. We have helped pay the school tuition of twelve children (ages 6-12). We have also given these poor families money for food and clothing.
“At present, with the aid money that was sent, we were able to pay rent on the small buildings we use for serving church services at three locations: in Jacmel, the Parish of St Augustin; in Cayes, the Parish of St John of San Francisco; in Leogane, the Parish of SS Peter and Paul. At Jacmel, we have baptized 300 people into Orthodoxy, at Cayes, more than 200, at Leogane, about 60. The main largest parish is at Port-au-Prince named after the Birth of the Mother of God, where 300 people have been baptized in our mission.
“St Nicholas Parish at Cap Haitien, where approximately 60 were newly baptized, need to receive services (difficulties exist in not having a building, we serve in the back room of a hotel).
Maisade has a parish in formation, hopefully it will someday be named after St John Damascene. Many, many are interested in Orthodoxy there and two have been baptized so far.
“Nearly all these parishes are serving reader services regularly. Fr John and I serve Liturgies and evening services at all of these parishes whenever possible once a month and at Port-au-Prince every weekend.
“The mission has two schools, each with more than 100 students and approximately 12 teachers. All students learn about Orthodoxy and there is a chapel attached to each school. The school I direct is called The Home of Love (for handicapped children from 3-20 years old). Fr Jean’s school is called The Lady of the Small Ones and is for normal children from 3-12 years of age. Both have been helped extremely by the kindness of the Fund.
Fr Jean and I must serve the needs of five parishes and two chapels while directing the needs of the schools during the week.
“There are nearly 1,000 newly baptized people that we must care for and it is difficult to navigate the roads of Haiti. At present, neither of us has a working vehicle. And we were overjoyed to receive this aid from the Fund, it helped us travel to our parishes.
“In some parishes, we needed to help pay for transportation of groups of families to the closest church. At the Port-au-Prince parish, several groups, with as many as twenty people, come from distant points. It is with the help you have given that made it possible to help pay their bus fare.
The money you donated was so badly needed and so appreciated that words cannot express our thanks. We are still in great need and would so very much appreciate your continued donations to the Fund of Assistance for the Orthodox Mission of Haiti. At present, our accounts are again at a zero balance; please forgive us, the survival of our parishes depends on your kindness to us!
Again, heartfelt thanks!
Fr Gregoire Legoute, and Fr Jean Dumais in Haiti”