ALL ABOUT OUR
Twin Parish in Haiti
The Church of St. Michael and St. Peter committed to become a twin parish in the spring of the year 2000. Parishioner Ligory Fernandes contacted the Parish Twinning Program of the Americas to be matched with parish in Haiti.
The Church of the Immaculate Conception was built on land given by the community in the area called Chauffard, in the mountains south west of Port-au-Prince. The Church, Rectory, and school were built there. The parish is made up of Chauffard, and six other villages with chapels and smaller schools tucked away in the mountains around Chauffard. The villages include Laval, Procy, Malanga, Bois d’Homme, Berly, and Masson. There are no real roads among the villages, just trails.
The parishioners of our twin parish live simply; without running water, plumbing or electricity. They cook their meals outside over wood or charcoal fires. They collect water from streams for their many needs. Most families are farmers. The children are always in clean uniforms for school and everyone dresses in their best to attend mass on Sunday.
Education is very important to the people of our twin parish. The $1,000 a month we send during the school year for the salaries for the 35 teachers and school lunch cooks helps retain good staff from year to year. Families want their children to grow up healthy for useful challenging careers just as we do.
The children of our twin parish are deserving of a good education and healthy meals. The simple meal of rice and beans or pasta and dried fish that we provide through the school lunch program is their best meal of the day. Since 2014, the World Food Program stopped sending food supplies to religious schools in southern Haiti. It has been a struggle to raise $5,000 a month to pay for a healthy hot meal at lunchtime for every student in the 7 schools of our twin parish during the school year.
Our medical mission volunteers celebrated the dedication of the new Chauffard clinic with the community in November 2018. The clinic, like the church, was originally built in the 1950’s and was is poor condition. It was rebuilt over a number of years and, since April 2018, is staffed with a licensed nurse. Our medical mission volunteers join with Haitian medical professionals to serve hundreds of patients a day in the clinic each November. It’s a wonderful personal connection between our parishes. Our volunteers always tell of the welcome they receive and of how kind and grateful the people of our twin parish are with them.
We host fundraisers all year long to pay for the school lunch program, teacher and cook salaries and other projects. We also have annual collections: school supplies in September, basic medical supplies in November, and toiletries and medical supplies in March. We welcome new members and donations at any time. Contact Kate McMahon at 315-214-1569 for more information.