FACEBOOK | TWITTER | YOUTUBE | DIOCESE OF ALBANY | LINKS SUNDAY, JUNE 25, 2017
The Evangelist | Albany, NY
Advanced Search
search sponsored by


  • About
  • Opinion
  • Features
  • Events
  • Specials
  • Photos
  • Bishop
  • Advertise

home : features : parish life

2/2/2012 10:01:00 AM
OUTREACH
Chatham parish 'twins' with Haiti
Students at the Haitian school that St. James parish helps
Students at the Haitian school that St. James parish helps
LOCAL OUTREACH
Since the Albany Diocese's "Amazing God" evangelization initiative began, St. James parish has also done local outreach: Last Easter, a team distributed greeting cards to Mass-goers. Before the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, Rev. Gary Gelfenbien, pastor of St. James, also sent handwritten notes to fallen-away parishioners, along with invitations to feast day Masses. At Christmas, the parish mailed a worship schedule to inactive members.
BY ANGELA CAVE
STAFF WRITER

The parish family of St. James in Chatham has reached across an ocean to help fellow Catholics.

Parishioners donated about $3,000 to support a new sister parish in a rural town in northeastern Haiti. Many have already offered to stage a talent show and involve parish ministries and community organizations in future fundraisers.

The Haiti parish, St. Cecile, is one of the smallest, poorest and most remote in the Archdiocese of Cap-Haitien. Residents of the area live in homes with thatch or tin roofs and no running water or electricity. Families earn about $60 annually by selling produce from small plots of land.

The parish school supports 842 children. It was neglected after almost three years without a parish pastor, so the building needs repair. St. Cecile's priest, Rev. Andre Augustin, oversees the school and the distribution of medicines and healthcare equipment.

Father Augustin began construction on a health center last year. St. James parish is committed to helping the priest pay teachers and fund the health center.

To circumvent the corruption that can divert funds from their intended recipients in Haiti, donations will be sent directly to the Parish Twinning Program of the Americas, which connected St. Cecile and St. James.

Pat Dieffenbach, co-coordinator of the twinning project at St. James along with Patty Bowes, said the parish chose twinning as opposed to sending money to a charitable organization because it allows parishioners to develop a relationship with the people they're helping and to understand another lifestyle.

"It's almost like being a missionary," she said.

The Parish Twinning Program of the Americas has forged more than 340 linkages between parishes in the U.S. or Canada and parishes in Haiti and elsewhere. Since the late 1970s, parishes have sent more than $22 million in aid to sister churches.

Father Augustin has to travel more than 170 miles from St. Cecile's to coastal Cap-Haitien in order to email St. James parishioners. He speaks English, but most of his people speak Creole.

Parishioners at St. James plan to recruit Haitian-Americans in Chatham and Hudson to help them correspond with the Haitian Catholics. Already, local parishioners have responded to the appeals for donations with enthusiasm.

The Haitian parish is "in our hemisphere" and "it's very poor," Ms. Dieffenbach said, noting that Catholics need to reach out: "It's a big world, and there's more than just here. Hopefully, this will go on for a number of years and we will learn from this."





Article Comment Submission Form
Please feel free to submit your comments.

Article comments are not posted immediately to the website. Each submission must be approved by the editor, who may edit content for appropriateness. There may be a delay of 24-48 hours for any submission while the editor reviews and approves it.

Note: All information on this form is required. Your telephone number is for our use only, and will not be attached to your comment.

If you are simply trying to contact persons mentioned in this article or you have a news or calendar event for The Evangelist, there is no need to fill out this form. Just email kate.blain@rcda.org.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Required
Last Name:
Required
Telephone:
Required
Email:
Required
Comment:
Required
Passcode:
Required
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.
   






CNS MOVIE REVIEWS | DAILY READINGS | ALBANY DIOCESE PARISHES

The Evangelist, 40 North Main Ave., Albany, NY, 12203-1422 | PHONE: 518-453-6688| FAX: 518-453-8448|
Copyright © 2014 | Evangelist.org | All Rights Reserved.

Software © 1998-2017 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved