Lisa Ringler: This is our last night in Haiti after a most adventurous journey which lead us to New York (after missing a flight out of Chicago), getting to Port-au-Prince a day late. We ended at our potential mission sight around 9:00 at night after traveling around 100 miles from the capitol to St. Jacques de Majeur. It is truly a mission that is way out in the middle of nowhere nestled around gorgeous mountains with a winding river that goes throughout the valley. The parish consists of 3 chapels and 2 stations that surround the parish and primarily are connected by paths and some rough roads. We met some people along the path that seemingly ran past us with their water or other materials on their heads as we made our way up to one of the chapels which was destroyed by the earthquake and has yet to be completely repaired. The central church and one chapel have a “school” with some local teachers that are lucky to get paid on a regular basis. Both are in danger of being closed as the locals usually cannot afford the minimal amount of money that the church asks for. If you can imagine a need, they have it…food, clean water, safe shelter, a trade, transportation, etc. God has blessed them with generosity, kindness, gentleness and joy. We have much we could learn from them.
Jim Redell: The Spirit of the Haitian people in the Parish of Father Maxis was awe inspiring while they celebrate a Mass lasting 21/2 hours. They suffer much to live, eat, get water, with no medical or dental services. However their attitude is that all things are possible with Christ. We can’t believe their help to provide us food, water, and shelter during our stay with them. To say they are a generous parish community would be an understatement! Much more to come from us once with return to Our Lady of Consolation community. Father Tony was a trooper and one tough Priest and one you want as a leader of your team!
P.S. What can we say about Tim Ryan from Haiti Needs You but “Holy Cow” !!! With out his countless hours of help, guidance, and assistance none of this would have been accomplished. THANKS,THANKS, THANKS
Fr. Tony Russo: This was my first trip to Haiti, I was a bit apprehensive on traveling, however, I am glad I made the journey. Chicago from Grand Rapids, our flight was delayed for two hours, which resulted in missing our flight to Miami, then our final destination Haiti. The missed flight resulted in a surprise visit to New York City where we spent the night and departed in the morning for Haiti. Praise God we did not lose Kevin in New York. LOL! We arrived in Haiti at 12:30 pm on Friday, February 7. Although all of us were very frustrated and fatigued, the airline did put us up for the night in New York and provided meals for all of us. The best part was that Tim Ryan and I were upgraded to first class from New York to Haiti. My first time flying first class. Our journey from Port-Au-Prince to the parish of St. Jack Major took six and a half hours, and we endured some rough terrain the last two and half hours of our journey. We drove through 39 bodies of water to get to our destination with the Toyota Land Cruiser. We met the pastor, Fr. Maxis and the community of St. Jack Major. We felt very welcomed as they took very good care of us. Fr. Maxis even moved out of his rectory so that all of us had a place to rest. We celebrated Sunday Mass with the parish, visited the school, chapels and stations. We met with the pastoral council and listened to the needs and challenges of the parish. Overall, our visit was a very positive and informative experience. Thank you very much for your prayers throughout out trip. It is much appreciated!
Patti Redell: Blog: Experiencing a culture of need. The Haitian people shared the Spirit of God with our OLC team. Their hospitality and generosity made us feel welcomed within their community. We were a sister and brother in Christ. Our shared presence ignited common unity among God’s people. Singing to the beat of bongos and swaying to the music, engaged the Catholic community in a Spirit-filled celebration. The Haitian people truly know how to give glory to God and enjoy life through song and dance. The topography of the country is breath taking, but the needs are GREAT! The people of Haiti have limited resources, jobs, opportunities, and their basic needs are not met. A lack of food, clean water, education, medical-dental health, and inappropriate housing are injustices to our brothers and sisters in Christ.
We thank Father Maxis Ridore, Pastor at St. Jacques Majeur parish, and his parish community for providing us with experiential knowledge and awareness of daily Haitian living. Father Maxis has been re-building a Catholic community by generously giving of his time, talents, love, and care so passionately. We, also, thank Tim Ryan and Father Tony for their compassion and desire to do God’s will. We are all made in the image and likeness of God. It is God’s plan that each of our needs be met, and our calling is to be salt and light to the world. We are called to love and care for God’s people….to make a difference!