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Haitian ties

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Many parishes in the Arlington diocese support Haitian parishes or charities that serve the people of Haiti. St. Charles Borromeo Church in Arlington has a sister parish very near the epicenter of the earthquake — Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Cavaillon, Haiti. Monsignor Ignace Coissy, pastor, shared his experience with the St. Charles Committee, which they translated. 

“Around 8:37 am, I was on the balcony, trying to make a phone call. Big chunks of cement fell in front of me, and I felt everything shaking. I did not know how to climb to the roof and jump on the side of the kitchen to the ground (but) I managed to do it, and had two leg fractures that are not too bad. I thought I was facing death. It is a bad experience that no one deserves to face. 

“Everything is now buried in my bedroom. Thank God the other members of the presbytery had already left, to go to the market, or other places. The other priest who was with me in the presbytery managed to get out too. I am now staying with the Sisters of Cavaillon, but living outside. The church in Cavaillon fell through, especially the front. Notre Dame College, the Immaculate Conception school, the church and the school in Roche Delmas are also damaged severely. Damages caused large problems (for) families in the center of town and in other communes. I am staying with you in prayer and solidarity.”

St. John Neumann Church in Reston held a second collection for Hands Together, a Catholic charity in Haiti that establishes schools, orphanages, nutrition programs, clinics and sustainable-development projects, but also is working to assist those impacted by the earthquake. 

Operation Starfish of Church of the Nativity in Burke has long supported several villages in Haiti. Though many of the villages were untouched by the earthquake, the parish is waiting for more information to learn about the state of others. 

Our Lady, Queen of Peace Church in Arlington reports that no one was injured in Medor, the town of its sister parish, St. Joseph. The church, schools, rectory, convent, and other parish buildings were not damaged. One of OLQP Haiti Committee's partners, the Raising Haiti Foundation, is helping support a farmer-led earthquake response. 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021