Christmas when Darkness seems Darker, a Letter from Fr. Rick

Christmas when Darkness seems Darker, a Letter from Fr. Rick

As Christians approach the revered celebration of the birth of Jesus, these words from a singer-poet illumine the meaning of Christmas, in a world and in a Church that are darkly and dangerously troubled:

Ring the bell that still can ring, 
sing the song that still can sing,
There's a crack in everything- 
that's how the light gets in.
(Leonard Cohen, "Anthem")

Read More

Fr. Rick is turning 65!!

Fr. Rick is turning 65!!

As you've probably seen, the last few weeks in Port-au-Prince have been turbulent and trying. As usual, Father Rick and the team have been fighting through impossible obstacles and stretching to help as many possible.

In this trying and stressful moment, some birthday wishes and support sure would help!

Read More

Voices of Haiti in Miami, with the Andrea Bocelli Foundation

They have collected standing ovations everywhere, they have been the soundtrack of the “Lincoln Center Global Exchange”, they have sung at The United Nations for the royal family of Sweden, at the Teatro del Silenzio and for the Pope.

Through their performances they have, once again, given evidence of how art can be a powerful instrument of cooperation, a tool for the development of one’s own potential and an instrument to show the strength, the colors, and the positivity of a land.

In the heart of Miami, in the prestigious Frost School at the Miami University, the kids of the choir “Voices of Haiti” have been the stars of an exciting meeting with the students, a musical meeting where the singers have reciprocally sung for one another.

Read More

Tending Haiti's Dead

Dear Friends

Catherine Porter, of The New York Times (Toronto) came to Haiti to capture the tragic circumstances of death, for so many poor an marginalized people.

It led her to discover that we have been burying destitute dead for many years.

I think her article has a lot of depth and insight. It also highlights the person of Raphael Louigene, a greatly admired and loved member of our leadership team here in Haiti.

I hope this article will give deeper insight into the sufferings of the Haitian people, and more compassion for people around the world whose lives are heavily burdened, and of course, the desire to help lift their load.

Merry Christmas, soon to come.

Fr Rick Frechette CP DO

St. Francis Reflection- from Fr. Enzo

Dear friends,

Last year on this very day, the Feast Day of St. Francis, Hurricane Matthew began to slam into the southwestern part of Haiti.  I remember the winds blowing fiercely that morning and before Mass I decided to put a statue that I bought in Assisi on the altar.

The statue is very unique, and depicts St. Francis taming the wolf of Gubbio ( a small town not far from Assisi). When I purchased it, I never could have imagined using the statue for a Hurricane.  I bought it on a visit to Assissi with Raphael, as a sign and reminder to us that evil will never prevail over good and that, as St. Francis himself said: "all the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle".  My thoughts were focused on wishing for peace in Haiti.

The story of the saint and the wolf is that the wolf terrorized the inhabitants of the small Italian town.  The wolf not only killed and devoured livestock but it began to attack the people.  All attempts to kill the wolf failed and fear took over their hearts.  St. Francis heard of this and decided to confront the wolf.  The huge wolf rushed toward Francis to attack but he made the sign of the cross, called the wolf “brother” and commanded him in the name of God to stop terrorizing the town. 

Read More

An update on Hurricane Matthew relief from Fr. Rick

Hello friends,

A brief note because of limits of time at the desk:

On Sunday evening our 4th barge load of materials left for Jeremie (Nan Roche).

We met the barge, which arrived Monday evening, and on Tuesday we unloaded all the materials, in just one day, onto small boats and to shore.

We were blessed by cloud cover without rain, which saved us from getting scorched as we usually do.

The materials include 3400 sacks of cement, 5000 cement block and 240 tons of rebar.

All of this is to build a school at St Victor, Jeremie province, which will be an additional school of the St Luke Programs.

We have also sent two caravans to the north of Haiti so far: to Anse a Foleur and Ounaminthe.

This is more challenging (very aggressive crowds), since we do not have a base there.

With each caravan we learn from the previous difficulties to find the best way to offset the challenges.

Some pictures are attached.

Thanks so much for your support!

God bless you!

Fr. Rick 

28Sep2017

"Gaining ground after Hurricane Matthew and changing math"- From Fr. Rick

Dear Friends and Family,

Not quite a week ago, after a full day’s work, a small group of us left Port au Prince and headed for Jeremie Province (Lagombri), in the rain.

We reached the muddy river crossings past Jeremie City almost eight hours later (at 2am), and slept, sitting and crunched up in the truck until sunrise, since it is not wise to negotiate the mud rivers when you can't see.

We reached St Victor almost two hours after that, and abandoning the truck for lack or roads, continued on an off road "polaris," for another hour and a half of a hair-raising ride, on mule paths that severely tested all the mechanics of the jeepish buggy, and of our bodies. 

After two flat tires, and reaching where even mules had to give up, we continued another hour on foot. 

As we walked, the rains came again. The red mud made everything slippery, and we spent as much of our time keeping our balance as walking, and we were wet and cold and mud-stained. 

Read More

Singers who lost their songs

Dear Friends,

The story of the last days of Jesus on earth tell of the very worst forms of agony any person can endure.

The story also shows, in a very painful way, the most noble way to suffer.

Later, the story happily reveals the glory that awaits those who have been baptized in the fires of life, and have not been found wanting.

Those of you who who are still grieving a childwhose life ended at the hand of another

Those of you still grieving someone you loved dearly whose life ended by their own hand,

Those of you still grieving for someone torn from your life, swiftly or slowly, in such an unbelievable awful and unfair way,

for sure you understand, with your heart, the first five, of the seven high holy days.

Maybe you also (hopefully) grieve deeply for the stranger, for the children who were just killed by sarin gas in the Bombing of the Innocents, in Syria. 

About six months ago, a popular young Haitian singer, on leaving the stage after midnight, and getting into his car on Delmas road, was hit, and run over, by a wreckless driver, who then fled the scene.

That Evans is a completely broken young man, in every conceivable sense, is the understatement of the year.

Read More

Now that the winds have died down...

"As we accompany our neighbors in rural Haiti, after the devastation of hurricane Matthew, it is clear that they are eager to replant their gardens, fix their roofs, replace their drowned livestock.
 
They are eager to give their children something to eat for today, and an education and skill that will make them independent tomorrow.
 
Unlike a shooting start that cannot be followed to any destination, or even admired for very long, the dream of the rural Haitian people is rather like the north star, a compass and guide, steady and clear."

Read More

The DaVinci Storm

Since the day after hurricane Matthew, we have been scrambling to respond to many pleas for help, mostly from friends.

One of those pleas has been a pretty continuous call from Fr David Fontaine, a brother priest who was begging for help for three cut off and isolated areas: D'Asile, Grand Boucan and Baraderes.

While traveling to Abricot (Jeremy)  and Dame Marie in the days right after Matthew to reach our staffs there, (even cutting our way through the fallen trees to get there), I was on the email constantly trying to get a helicopter to reach Fr David and his flock in these three places. 

Three days ago, after one aborted try to get to D'Asile by land, we were finally able to get there with food and water- after two blown truck tires and getting stuck in the mud in two different river crossings.

Read More