Every weekend, we have the opportunity to celebrate Mass in our church without fearing for our safety. Our sister and brother parishioners in St. Genevieve Parish in Haiti don’t have that opportunity because gathering in church puts them in too great a danger of being injured, kidnapped or killed by the gangs who are terrorizing that country.
Every school day in CT, we send our children and grandchildren to school where we are comfortable that they are safe. Most of our brother and sister parishioners don’t send their young ones to school because it would put them in too great a danger of being kidnapped and held for ransom by the gangs.
If we need to speak with one of the friars who provide us wonderful service, we know where we can find them. Our sister and brother parishioners do not know where their pastor is on any given day because he has to continually change his location to avoid being kidnapped by one of the gangs.
Every night, we retire to our beds where we sleep safely. Our brother and sister parishioners in Haiti sleep outside most nights because too often the gangs burn down houses at night with people in them.
At this point, there is no functioning government in Haiti to which our sisters and brothers can look to address the hellacious conditions in which they are forced to live.
Confronted with this reality and concluding that we could not go on only asking God to somehow intervene in the situation, the members of the Sister Parish Committee initiated an advocacy effort to persuade the US Government to:
- Sanction the wealthy Haitians who are funding the gangs.
- Stop the illegal shipment of guns from the US to the Haitian gangs.
- Support the deployment of an international peace keeping force to Haiti to provide the safety, security and peace that Haitians need to re-establish a functioning government.
We have engaged with representatives of parishes IN TEN STATES all of whom have the same type of relationships with Haitian parishes that we have. Everyone in this group is working as we are with our representatives in Congress for the actions listed above. All of us agree with what President John F. Kennedy said at the very end of his inaugural address. We ask of God His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.
Working with that spirit, we are making progress. We will share that progress in next week’s bulletin and parish email. So, watch this space.