31 March 2010
Dublin Catholics give generously to Haiti Collection
Funds raised for Haiti at Masses in Dublin last month have already been distributed and are helping with the relief and rebuilding effort. Mass goers gave over €1.3 million euro to help Haiti in a special collection in the Archdiocese of Dublin.
A number of religious orders working in Haiti are already in receipt of the monies collected in Dublin and are funding essential supplies as well as longer term projects to help Haitians rebuild their lives.
Among those who will benefit from the Haiti Collection are Trócaire, who have been assisting with the relief effort through Caritas – who have been involved in delivering food, water and medical supplies to thousands of people.
The Sisters of St Joseph of Cluny have 14 communities in Haiti. Sr. Maeve Guinan, Provincial Superior, visited Haiti in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake. The sisters are involved in education, health care, promotion of women and social development. 80 sisters (all Haitian except for 6) work with almost 9000 children in their primary and secondary schools; among the schools destroyed was Saint Rose of Lima, founded in 1864. At present, sisters and people are sleeping outdoors in the compounds of the Sisters. Funding they received from the Archdiocese is helping set up temporary schools in large tents and/or containers, furnish and equip these schools and pay teachers. The sisters are also helping to provide tents for those without homes, are running a food programme and a medical clinic.
The Daughters of Mary and Joseph have 3 houses in Haiti. They work in education, evangelisation and faith-building. Sr. Rose Kelly, an Irish woman, is one of the community in Jean Rabel. This area was not devastated by the earthquake but in its aftermath, has become home to 15, 000 refugees from Port au Prince. The Daughters’ community in Gros Morne is situated where 22,000 refugees are currently being cared for. They are planning to use money collected in Dublin to help with accommodation and food, provide additional classrooms and teachers for the refugees in Jean Rabel and Gros Morne and seeds so that families have the possibility of income when the produce grows.
Viatories Christi, based in Phibsboro in Dublin has also received funding – they are working in partnership with Nuestros Peguenos Hermanos, who run a paediatric hospital and orphanage close to Port Au Prince. Currently, a number of Irish Viatories Christi volunteers are working with NPH – including Gena Heraghty, who has worked there for 17 years and Pat Mollaghan who has been 10 years in Haiti and is based in St. Damien’s Hospital where much work is being done to help children. At the moment funds are being used to help the many amputee children at the hospital and their families, buying tents to house them on their release from hospital and follow up support. They also run a feeding progamme for orphans and displaced children from the tent cities around Port au Prince, who are fed on a daily basis.
The Redemptorists have been working in Haiti since 1929. Currently, 41 Redemptorists work in several different locations. Fr Gerry O’Connor CSsR and recently ordained Fr Sean Duggan CSsR have both served there and went there in the aftermath of the earthquake to assess needs. Redemptorists work in Parish ministry, education, water projects in rural areas, an orphanage and in skills training for young people. The Redemptorists community in Port au Prince lost 280 children and six teachers connected with their schools, church and youth centres. They are using money from the Dublin Archdiocese collection for emergency food and tents, transitional shelters for 300 families and to help rebuild St Gerard’s Primary and Secondary schools; youth training centre, kindergarten, nutrition centre, parish church and monastery.
31 Daughters of Charity have been ministering in Haiti since 1973. Most work in Port au Prince, serving in schools, health centres, social services and in pastoral work. Their 3 schools and houses were destroyed. Consequently, the sisters are homeless and sleep outdoors in tents. One Haitian sister, Brigitte, lost her life. The sisters have put together teams of assistants, including sisters who have nursing skills from around the world who will work in rotation, replacing one another every 3 months. Funding from the Archdiocese of Dublin special collection is being used to provide tents for health posts, food centres and shelter for the poor and to help rebuild their schools.