Dear Holy Family,
I do not know how to write this letter. Perhaps the pandemic has paralyzed me. My work has changed, our social life has halted, we cannot go to church and we lost a loved one – there is so much pain. And yet, there are blessings. Our nuclear family has spent more time together. Zoom gatherings with friends have some merit, I suppose. Zoom Mass with Fr. Tom has allowed me to pray with people throughout the country and at Holy Family I enjoy the group chats despite the lack of donuts. Learning to live with tragedy – support and faith gets you through, minute by minute.
Patience is in short supply in our society. We are used to instant gratification. During this pandemic, however we are forced to be patient. We are told we must wait until there is a vaccine. We shelter in place, we isolate ourselves, we shield our faces, we stand six feet apart. We try to be patient but we know that our country is in turmoil. Emotions are flamed by uncertainty, by a lack of answers, by polarized stances. People are angry. People are afraid.
Violence in Haiti is the norm. Living with fear is the norm. According to Fr. Tom, during Covid 19, it is worse. People are terrified and terrorized. Gangs rule the neighborhoods. The people in the slums “shelter in place” not because of Covid, but because to leave their shacks means risking their lives. Speaking with the new regional superior, Sr. Immacula, Fr. Tom said last week, “Twenty people were just shot and killed, including a young girl. It is all madness. Do not go into Cite Soleil.” Haitians have always lived with violence. They have always been hungry. But these months have been worse. It is unimaginable.
Fr. Tom and Doug orchestrated the delivery of food and water on a regular basis over the last four months. Their medical clinic is the only one open. They have done everything possible to help their people as they can. Their resources are running short. Mission appeals, a large source of their annual funding, are almost all postponed until next year. Foundation money is down. Individual donors are giving less. In this time of Covid, we cannot abandon the people of Haiti. We need to ACT.
Thank you Holy Family. Thank you for your faith in the mission, for proclaiming hope and for serving in love. Thank you for continuing to support Mission Haiti. Please join us the last weekend of September as we present our annual appeal for Hands Together and honor the Haitians in prayer.
Mary A. Mather Nally