Will pay funeral costs for six who died in hurricane
By William T. Clew | The Catholic Free Press
The first of six funerals for children and parents of children who were part of the Worcester diocesan Haitian Mission’s education program and died in Hurricane Matthew will be held Sunday.
Sister Marie-Judith Dupuy, a Sister of St. Ann and director of the diocesan Haitian Apostolate, said the Haitian Mission will pay the funeral expenses, about $600, for each of the funerals.
The hurricane struck Haiti on Oct. 4 and, according to news reports, killed more than 1,000. It devastated the southwest portion of the island nation, including Les Cayes, a major city there.
Bishop McManus has asked parishes in the Worcester Diocese for prayers and donations to help the Diocese of Les Cayes with which it has a twinning relationship. Also, some parishes in the Worcester Diocese are twinned with parishes in Les Cayes.
Father Serge Denis, pastor of St. Michel Parish in Roche-a-Bateau is seeking help from its twinned parish, St. Mary’s Parish of Shrewsbury, to build two classrooms to replace the two lost when the chapel was destroyed, and to replace the roof on the building containing three other classrooms.
Sister Judith said a group of parishioners from St. Mary’s was scheduled to visit Haiti from Nov. 9 to 15, but the trip has been postponed.
She said the hurricane and flooding did heavy damage to churches in the Les Cayes Diocese, making them unusable. Many homes were destroyed and people are living outside.
“They don’t even have tents,” she said.
Last Sunday the first Mass in the area since the flood was celebrated outside. She said flood waters also damaged parish records and a careful restoration effort is under way.
She said she has sent out a request to the more than 600 benefactors of students in the Haitian Mission’s Adopt-A-Student program asking for donations for three phases of emergency relief.
In the letter, which includes a form to list tax-deductible donations, Sister Judith wrote:
“During the hurricane, dead animals, fallen trees, trash and even human bodies were disintegrated in the water, which is the cause of a significant increase of cholera in Les Cayes that killed already so many people. The strong wind and rain had devastated all gardens, crops, livestock and houses. All our adopted children are in desperate situation at this present time.”
The first phase, which she calls an Immediate Monetary Donation (IMD) will help her buy food and water purification tablets (Aquatab) in Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital and largest city.
She said Port-au-Prince was not as hard-hit as Les Cayes and food and medicine can he bought there. The IMD phase will allow quicker delivery of the items to Les Cayes. Water purification tablets will help fight a growing cholera problem. Cholera is a potentially deadly disease spread by contaminated water.
The second phase, Non-Perishable Food, Clothes and over-the-counter Medication (NPFCM) is something in which institutions like churches, schools, colleges and universities can participate, Sister Judith said.
She said the institutions can put out 50-gallon barrels for people to drop off the needed items. She said the barrels can be shipped to Haiti at a cost of $140 each. She said she has contacted a company that will provide and ship the barrels. She asked that those interested call her at 508-929-4310 or 929-4328 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The third phase, Monetary Donation for Children Housing (MDCH) seeks money “to be used strictly to repair or rebuild the houses of the adopted children in our education program,” she wrote.
More than 640 backpacks containing school supplies and personal hygiene care items, donated and put together by people in the Worcester Diocese. arrived last week and have been stored. Sister Judith said she plans to go to Haiti Nov. 9 and will distribute the backpacks to each of the adopted children.