UPDATES FROM OUR SISTER PARISH – SAINT ROSE OF LIMA PARISH IN PILATE, HAITI
BROAD VIEW OF SAINT ROSE OF LIMA PARISH IN PILATE, HAITI
Dear twin brothers and sisters at Good Shepherd Parish in Evansville,
The fact that for most of you the twinning program is completely something new and you
don’t really know your sister parish in Haiti, I have decided, as the parish pastor, to write this
document just to give you a broad view of what is Saint Rose of Lima Parish. I hope by this
way many of you will have a better idea your twin sister parish in Pilate, Haiti.
a) Location and subdivision
The Saint Rose of Lima Parish of Pilate is located in Northern Haiti. The main church
building in located in the center of the town. It is a big parish with more or less 5000
parishioners spread throughout the town of Pilate. In this sense and in order to serve all the
parishioners, wherever they are living, the parish has five other churches or chapels located in
the very remote areas of the town. Their names are: Margot, Piment, Dubourg, Mannoeuvre,
and Petronie. The chapel of Margot is in a process of becoming a parish in these days, which
name will be “Saint Laurent Parish”.
2) Relation between the chapels and the main church of the parish
According to a monthly schedule the parish pastor or his associate pastor has to go to
celebrate the Holy Sacrifice or to administer the sacraments in one or two of these chapels for
the benefit of the people. If there is a need or an emergency during the week, one of the
pastors has to go to see and meet the people in order to serve them. To reach these chapels
you have to walk through small paths, crossing the rivers from one to nine times, or climbing
mountains all the way long until you arrive. Nowadays you can do a small part of the way on
motorbike or with the parish car. But, you will pull it somewhere in 1/3 of the way and
continue walking on your feet most of the time. To go to the farthest one you have to walk
about two or three hours, after getting off a vehicle, depending upon your speed. Every first
Sunday of each month all the people from these chapels have to come to the main church of
the parish to attend the 9:00 mass. After the mass a group of them, seven members of the
committee of each “basic ecclesial community”, which are about 105, in total, have to stay
much longer for a meeting with them. In this sense, after the meeting, the parish pastor has to
give them something to eat in order to recover the necessary energy to walk back homes.
Moreover, the parishioners from the chapels have to come to town also if they need to an
important document from the parish like birth certificate or baptism certificate.
3) Liturgy and people’s life
Each of these chapels has the same structure as the main church of the parish about
liturgy. They have choirs, groups, catholic action movements, etc. Most of the people are
farmers and are not educated. Their everyday living depends on basic agricultural activities.
In bulk, they are living in great poverty. That is why for them the parish pastor has to act like
a development agent too. They come to talk to the parish pastor for everything and every
need, even sometimes, the smallest one like asking for food to eat or money to buy something
to eat. The parish pastor or his associate has to have an answer for everything. You can
4) The church animation and elderly ministry
In the parish, mainly in the center, there are nine choirs and three catholic action
movements. Throughout the years these choirs or groups always have anniversary. In a
month, it may have two anniversary celebrations during the Sunday 6:00 a.m. mass, which is
mainly the crowded mass. Like in the chapels, the parish pastor or his associate has to take
them in charge for everything and almost everyone: the kids, the young ones, and the aged
ones. To give a small answer to the needs of the elders, every Saturday morning, they receive
something to eat and a very small amount of changes in order to buy the fewer things they
want to buy. This money comes from the masses quests of every weekend. By the way, we
have three masses during the weekend: one every Saturday afternoon and the two others on
Sunday morning. During weekdays, there is mass at 6:00 a.m. every day.
5) Kids and youth ministry
About the kids and the young ones, the parish administration which is mainly the
parish pastor’s actions is to help them in everything that is possible. His job is not only to
provide spiritual messages to them but also to take care of them, to educate them. Most of
them are from poor family and are not able to pay school fees. That is why, according to the
Gospel, the pastor should take care of his sheep. He should act like the Good Shepherd! In
this sense, to help them, the parochial schools received them for their education and most of
the time with zero fees because they can’t afford to. That is why our three parochial schools
are not financially able to deal with their expenses. More, for some of them, facing the fact
that they really can’t, as a parish pastor you have to do and buy everything for them in order
to be able to go to school (to dress them and to buy books for them, by example). And not all
of them are in our schools. So we need to pay their school fees too. We need to feed them
because at home it’s really difficult for their family to get them something to eat every day.
6) Micro-financing ministry
In the parish, we also have a micro finance activity. Is was set up by Father Snell, the
former parish pastor, in order to help the people finding small credits to do small trades for
having a decent living. However, it lacks of funds and not a wide group of people are
benefiting it. But, it helps a lot in its limits. If we can find a fund for it that would be a
tremendous help to reduce poverty and a good step toward a sustainable life.
7) A variety of pastoral activities
During Christmas time, Lent, Easter and summer time, there are lots of activities based
on the liturgy of the Church at Saint Rose of Lima Parish. Sometimes, we put on concert with
the choirs and the dancers. In this sense, this summer vacation, we had a sewing camp and
another camp to train the young one to make sandals using thread. At the end of august of
every year, we celebrate the big feast of Saint Rose of Lima. This year, we hosted 26 priests
for the feast.
Fr. Frantzdy Joseph, c.s.c.
November 03, 2018