Dear Parish Family,
October 22-23 is Commitment Weekend. There are plenty of reminders through the parish website, email blasts and bulletin posting our needs of time, talent, and treasure here at Sacred Heart. If you are not involved at all at this time, please consider taking a small step into each of the three areas. Prayerfully consider how you can share who you are and be counted on as a faith filled parishioner of Sacred Heart.
I do wish to address the seriousness of the needs of our brothers and sisters in Haiti, in particular at St. Gerard’s. When Fr. Tilus tells us that 363 homes in the parish were completely destroyed,424 were damaged, and the roofs of the main church and the tree chapels were blown off; we as Americans immediately think “Insurance claims!” However, there is no such thing as home owners or property insurance in Haiti. A home in Haiti is a lifetime accomplishment. A family saves enough money over many years to buy a piece of property, maybe 30’X40’. They build a somewhat unstable shack on the property and try to save to maybe invest in a metal roof rather than a thatched roof on their home. If enough can be saved they put in a cement floor instead of a dirt floor, and maybe cement the twig walls if enough money can be saved. Homes are one room, cooking and dining are all done outside over an open fire. The home is shelter and safety at night. Water comes from a well located many several miles away, although for two of the communities of the four at St. Gerard’s we have dug wells so potable water is more local. Out houses are shared in neighborhoods.
When someone’s home is destroyed, it is a whole lifetime of saving and sacrifice that is lost, with no insurance to bail you out. You have lost everything. Aid relief is the only thing that these families have. There are no government programs as we have here in the U.S. There is no tax system to provide emergency funds. We have no clue how fortunate we are to live in a first world country.
I am investigating through Catholic Relief Services and our Diocesan Haitian Apostolate, the best way we can assist our fellow parishioners at St. Gerard’s. I am going to let Fr. Tilus take the lead on whether we should visit in February. In the meantime, let us commit our prayers for all Haitians, and we will continue to accept donations for Aid Assistance to those in need.
“Count me IN!” is our Stewardship renewal theme. Several parishioners have said, “I will always share my time, talent, and treasure with Sacred Heart and I can also do more to help in Haiti.” How proud I am to walk with those who always want to walk the extra mile!