February 4, 2011

Faith, Hope and Charity / David Siler

Archdiocese is helping Haiti rebuild

David SilerThe second reading for Jan. 23, the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, was from St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor 1:10-13, 17).

In Chapter 1, St. Paul urges us, “to be united in the same mind and in the same purpose” (1 Cor 1:10). He wants the world to see that Christ unites us.

Perhaps the most significant way that we demonstrate our unity is when we come together to serve those in need.

The earthquake last year in Haiti has presented the Church the opportunity to come together to care for our brothers and sisters to our south in every way imaginable.

A year after the quake, hundreds of thousands of families still do not have homes, and many don’t have the most basic needs—most notably clean water as evidenced by the cholera outbreak.

The Archdiocese of Indianapolis has responded and continues to respond to the people in Haiti in various ways in the name of the Church—in the name of Jesus.

Last year at this time, our parishes responded to the devastation by contributing to a second collection. A huge outpouring of support was demonstrated to the people of Haiti through your generosity.

Through these collections, we made a significant contribution to a ministry at St. Bartholomew Parish in Columbus, which has had a twinning relationship with St. Anne Parish in Limonade, Haiti, since 1993.

As many people fled from the earthquake’s affected areas, the small towns, villages and churches, which were already suffering the poverty of Haiti, received these migrants and were stretched beyond capacity.

St. Anne Parish in Limonade suddenly became home to a large population of orphaned youths. With assistance from St. Bartholomew parishioners, St. Anne is working to expand its capacity to serve these young people through what has become a sort of “youth center.”

In mid-February, a few representatives of St. Bartholomew Parish, Bill Farrar, the director of Fountains of Hope, and I will travel to Limonade to bring the support of our archdiocese. We will represent all of you in demonstrating the love of Jesus in real, tangible ways.

Our first order of business will be to install a clean water system. Fountains of Hope is a Christian ministry that provides and installs water filtration systems specially designed to function in areas of the world with little resources. This water system will be able to serve 5,000 people by completely eliminating the bacteria that causes cholera and all other water-borne illnesses.

A few months later, a group of St. Bartholomew Parish youths will travel to Limonade to work on the youth center.

If you want to provide further support to this important, life-saving work, please go to www.fountainsofhope.org or www.saintbartholomew.org. A completely installed water system costs $5,000.

Many other parishes are working in Haiti and would appreciate support. Feel free to contact me at dsiler@archindy.org or by calling me at 317-236-7325 or 800-382-9836, ext. 7325.

You may also contact the archdiocesan Mission Office at 317-236-1485 or 800-382-9836, ext. 1485 for additional ways to support the work in Haiti.

(David Siler is executive director of the Secretariat for Catholic Charities and Family Ministries. E-mail him at dsiler@archindy.org.)

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