WORCESTER — A longterm project run by the Worcester Roman Catholic Diocese to help Haitian children will end Jan. 1.
Bishop Robert J. McManus Tuesday announced the Haitian Ministry will no longer fundraise for school students in Haiti, the poorest of nations in the Western Hemisphere.
Instead, according to a press release, the diocese will “refocus on its original mission to promote twinning between parishes in the Diocese of Worcester and parishes in the Diocese of Les Cayes.”
The decision to close the Haitian Apostolate office will save the diocese about $100,000, according to Raymond Delisle, chancellor and spokesman for the diocese.
Beginning in January the diocesan Office of Fiscal Affairs will coordinate bank transfers to the twinning parishes in Les Cayes, which were being done by the Haitian Ministry.
The diocese’s Haitian Apostolate had been run by Sister Marie-Judith since May 2005. She plans to pursue a new career.
She said she starts this month as a full-time student at Anna Maria College, working on a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in preparation for a master’s in homeland security, in hopes of becoming an immigration officer, the diocesan press release said.
“I think the changes came at the right time,” said Sister Marie-Judith. “I’m very grateful to (Bishop McManus) … for recognizing my big effort in this ministry,” she said.
The bishop expressed his appreciation to Sister Marie-Judith.
“I am grateful for the tireless work with the Haitian Adopt-a-Student and backpack programs which Sr. Marie Judith Dupuy of the Sisters of St. Anne has provided with various staff people over the years,” Bishop McManus said.
Currently, 15 parishes “twin” with Haitian parishes.
Parishes such as Sacred Heart of Jesus in Hopedale and St. Gabriel, the Archangel in Upton have been twinning for many years with their parishes in Haiti. More recent parishes to join the effort include Christ the King in Worcester and St. Roch in Oxford.
“Our commitment to our (twin) parish has allowed the people of St. Gabriel’s to have an awareness of Church that is not only inward, but outward,” said Rev. Laurence V. Brault, pastor of St. Gabriel, the Archangel Parish in Upton. His parish has been twinning with St. Anne Parish in Sucrerie Henri, Haiti, for nearly 18 years.
St. Gabriel supports St. Anne with $1,027 per month, part of which helps the St. Anne clinic, he said. St. Gabriel also pays $15,000 per year to support the St. Anne parish school and several chapel schools, Rev. Brault said.
Rev. William C. Konicki, pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Hopedale, said his parish has been twinning with St. Gerard Parish in Point Simone, Haiti, for 18 years.
Sacred Heart has a covenant with St. Gerard to send $900 per month, he said. It pays salaries for St. Gerard to keep operating its school at the church and the school at each of its three mission churches or chapels.
After discussion with the leadership of the Sisters of St. Anne, the bishop and the Sisters of St. Anne are investigating options for donors who want to help the education programs, especially the schools run by the Sisters of Ste. Anne in Haiti. Continue reading