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Love is the Greatest Treasure of All

Posted on September 18, 2020 in: Outreach to Haiti

Love is the Greatest Treasure of All

One of my favorite scriptural quotations can be found in Matthew (6:19-21), “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” 

It fits beautifully with another of St. Matthew’s lessons to us, “…You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (22:37-39)

These are powerful reminders that love is the most important treasure one can have: love for God, love for self, and love for others.

Sitting on our nation’s doorstep is Haiti, the poorest and most densely populated country in the Western Hemisphere. Haiti occupies one-third of the Island of Hispaniola (the other two-thirds is the Dominican Republic).

Like us and countries throughout the world, Haiti faces many challenges including the ravages of COVID-19, but unlike us, the following is true of current day Haiti.

Seventy percent of the population of Haiti lives under the threshold of absolute poverty: which means they live without the minimum essentials. Per capita income is $1,830 and 59 percent of Haitians live on less than $2.42 per day. 

Haiti ranks last in health care spending in the Western Hemisphere: inadequate health services, poor nutrition and deficient, often non-existent, sanitation systems have pushed Haiti to the bottom on the World Bank’s (WHO) rankings of health indicators. 

Approximately 50 percent of Haitians have no access to clean drinking water and only 43 percent of Haitians receive recommended immunizations.

More than 50 percent of Haitian children are undersized due to malnutrition, which is the leading cause of death for children five years of age and younger. 

Approximately 60 percent of Haitian children attend school, with only one-fifth attending one of the few government-funded schools. 

The Good News is that 38 years ago, Catholics and friends like you from the Diocese of Norwich were called by God to visit Haiti. They saw a need, and from that day forward the Diocese of Norwich has had a ministry in Haiti. 

The Diocese of Norwich Outreach to Haiti believes in Haitians helping Haitians. We have 21 Haitians who are our part of our ministry in Haiti and serve those in desperate need. Our ministry is in the Christ the King neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, where some of the poorest people on earth live: 60,000 men, women, and children.

Our ministry calls us to walk with our brothers and sisters in Haiti and help where we can. Thanks to your prayers and financial gifts we (all of us) do the following outreach:  

SR. ANN WELLER CLINIC

  • Treats approximately 6,000 people annually.
  • Patients receive life-saving care, medications, vaccinations, and lab tests, as necessary.
  • Staffed exclusively by Haitian medical professionals.

COMMUNITY HEALTH OUTREACH

  • Trained healthcare personnel walk through the neighborhood to follow up with patients in their homes. 

  • They identify safety and sanitation problems, provide education and in-home training on personal hygiene, food preparation, and creating safe environments for children.

ON-SITE NUTRITION PROGRAM

  • Serves 75 to 100 families whose children have been diagnosed with severe to moderate malnutrition. The goal is to bring children and pregnant mothers to a normal healthy weight.
  • Provides families with food and supplements along with educational sessions on nutrition and food preparation.

EMERGENCY RELIEF 

  • We have provided and will continue to provide immediate responses to extraordinary needs caused by earthquakes, hurricanes, tropical storms, and other natural disasters – currently COVID-19 -- while providing loving service to individuals and families in times of despair.

TWINNING

  • Currently there are 14 American and Haitian parishes and groups in a partnership of love, sharing, and support.
  • The Diocese of Norwich is twinned with the Archdiocese of Port-au-Prince.

In the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Pastoral Letter on stewardship, we are reminded, “Christians are also called to look outward and to place themselves at the service of the entire human community, especially those who are most in need.”

Thank you for responding to God’s call to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Thank you for supporting our diocesan ministry through your prayers and financial gifts and for knowing love is the greatest treasure of all.

May God bless you!

By Susan Wallace, Executive Director Outreach to Haiti

To find out how you can help, please visit OutreachtoHaiti.org 

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