Saturday, July 05, 2014

Home and again

Recently, a group of parishioners returned from our first parish mission trip to Haiti, where they visited the geographically remote but personally embracing pastor and people of the parish of Saint Therese of the Infant Jesus, in the diocese of Jeremie.  Immediately after returning, one of the missioners handed me the following letter, which I now share with you.
From: Father Samuel Auguste
            Sicard, Jeremie, Haiti
To: Msgr. Smith  Barthelemy
            Ste. Bernadette Parish, Washington
Object: Thank you!

Msgr. Smith,
            I greet you on behalf of Jesus Christ.
On behalf of the followers of the parish Saint Therese of the Infant Jesus of Sicard, and on my own behalf, I write you this letter in order to thank you for all your support and your heartfelt friendship. 
            Sicard is a new parish that needs very good cooperations.  Thanks be to god, we have started cooperating with some awesome people which you are.
            I was very happy to receive the friends from Saint Bernadette parish of Washington and the gifts that they brought for me and for the kids, such as: copybooks, crayons, school bags, keyboard, t-shirts, the computer, and the pictures drawn by your students.
            I have also received an email regarding the transfer of the 8,000 US dollars to my account.  Unfortunately I haven’t had enough time to withdraw that money before they came to visit my parish, but I thank you a lot for that.
            Finally, I am kindly asking you to transfer my greetings and thanks to all of the ones who contributed to send gifts and money to my parish.
            May God bless you and all of the followers of Saint Bernadette.  Thank you!
                                    Sincerely, Father Samuel Auguste
I hope that warms you more than the summer sun – which I understand is even warmer in the hills of western Haiti!  Our Haiti mission committee, led by Maureen Johnson and Jim Weisgerber, did a marvelous job of discerning the needs of the people of Sicard and how we could offer them something that would bear good fruit in their lives.  They were also eager to remain open to the many gifts that their newfound Haitian brothers and sisters could offer them.  Mutual generosity is the fabric of communion in Christ.  To all who have participated in launching this relationship that will result in a deeper participation in the love of Christ, I give not only Father Samuel's thanks, but also my own.
Nothing makes one grateful for his own nation like visiting another, as I have several times experienced.  This note comes at perfect time to thank God for the unique gifts and genius of our country, whose abundances we enjoy.  Our Independence Day observances should not fail to include sincere thanks to God for this singular grace, as well as our fervent prayer for guidance and protection from all evil, within and without, that could threaten our earthly homeland.  God bless America.

Monsignor Smith