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December Trip Highlights 2015

Haiti Highlights - Tim Muth

Here are some of the highlights from my December 2015 trip:

Les Palmes
Fr. Johnson is doing well and sends his best wishes to everyone at Holy Name of Jesus (HNJ). A new seminarian has been assigned to Les Palmes to assist Fr. Johnson

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On Sunday, we went to a remote chapel for mass. The chapel is called Notre Dame du Perpetuel Secours (Our Lady of Perpetual Help). Fr. Johnson visits the remote chapels twice a year so it is a very big community event when he visits. We brought 10 people (altar servers, choir members, deacon) plus the sound system with us. Over 300 people attended mass and it was standing room only. There were 10 baptisms and 3 first communions. The church was decorated with colorful streamers and balloons. Over 100 school children processed in with Fr. Johnson. They carried their school and church banners and sang the opening hymn. It was a very spiritual and moving 2+ hour service. (Just like HNJ, a cell phone went off during mass. Unlike HNJ, no one left early.) After the mass, we visited the local school. It is run by a Catholic brother. We shared Christmas presents with the children. The presents were toys left over from HNJ’s Beachside Festival. Thank you HNJ!

The students were taking exams during my visit. As I walked around the village, I would see groups of children studying for their exams.

A French non-profit organization built small school buildings at 3 of our remote schools (St. Therese, St. Antoine, and Sacred Heart).

Fr. Johnson has formed a building committee to assist him in rebuilding the church in Les Palmes. It was damaged by the 2010 earthquake.

The 2016 VBS program will take place in late June. We plan to visit 5 remote schools.

Fr. Anis is doing well and sends his Christmas greeting to everyone at HNJ.

The new addition to the school was completed by a group of men from Wisconsin and Indiana. The library, computer room, and 2 classrooms are very nice. Fr. Anis asked them to build a small stage in the library so he can use the room as a chapel. Fr. Anis plans to name the library in honor of Matthew Roy.

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Digicell (the local cell phone company) will provide 1 month training for the Durissy teachers. Also, they may build a new 3-4 classroom building next year.

Fr. Anis continues to expand the high school. 11th grade was added in 2015/2016 and he plans to open 12th grade next year. The high school is the only option for the children in Durissy. The nearest high school is in Petit Goave (about a 3 hour walk from Durissy).

Fr. Anis plans to build a “Life Center” and Cafeteria near the school. He hired local workers to start clearing the land.

One evening, Fr. Anis, Lamothe, and I were taking a casual stroll around Durissy. We saw several middle school students studying for their math exam. They were solving math problems on a blackboard. It was getting dark and I could hardly see the board much less the formulas. To reward their dedication and hard work, we gave the students a LuminAid (a small pillow sized, solar powered light). They loved it. It provided a bright light which allowed them to study for another 1-2 hours.

The 2016 VBS program will be held in late June, early July. We plan to open the VBS program with a prayer service in the new chapel/library.

Morne a Chandelle
Fr. Petit wishes everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Fr. Petit continues to run one of the best schools in Haiti. His secret is discipline and hard work.
17 students graduated from St. Michaels in June 2015.

Fr. Petit is planning a huge midnight mass and Christmas celebration. I watched the 2nd grade girls practice their dance routine and the choir rehearsing their songs. Everyone is very excited.

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Fr. Petit held a Parents’ meeting during my visit. 85 school parents attended. In a very forceful and animated manner, Fr. Petit talked to them about discipline (it is crucial for students to attend school every day, the children must be properly dressed for school, no wild hairdo’s, proper hygiene, no cell phones, make sure they complete their homework) and respect (the students must respect their teachers and be kind to their classmates). Fr. Petit interjected a little humor when he thanked HNJ for their long term support and then told the parents “HNJ does not have a big bucket of money”. He stressed the importance of parent support and acting as good role models. Then, he ended by talking about tuition. This was a very popular topic. Usually, the Haitian people are polite and don’t argue with authority figures. Not so, when the topic of tuition was discussed. By the way, the annual tuition is about US $ 70 per year. Only 25% of the families can afford to pay any amount of tuition. Fr. Petit closed by telling the parents “we need to work together as a family to make our school stronger.”

Fr. Petit has hired outside trainers to conduct training sessions for all 65 teachers from Dec. 28 – 31.

Another LuminAid story : Fr. Petit plans to use 10 Luminaids as lanterns to light the way during their midnight mass celebration. Then at the teacher training program, he will reward the top teachers with a LuminAid.

The 2016 VBS program will be held in early July. The DJ has been hired and the children are ready for a faith-filled and joyous time.

One problem shared by all three villages is the lack of food to serve lunch to the school children. Most of the non-profit organizations have cut back or eliminated their food allotments. Although we focus our ministry on education, we were moved by this situation and are trying to find a short term solution to provide a daily lunch through the end of this school year (June 2016). The short-term solution will entail both a financial contribution and finding new non-profit feeding partners.



December Trip Highlights

 By Volunteers Tim Muth and Paul VanHemel

Les Palmes

Fr. Johnson was still excited about his first visit in October to Indialantic Florida and the Holy Name of Jesus (HNJ) community. With a big smile on his face, he asked us to say hello to the HNJ parishioners and Hearts Out to Haiti supporters. While visiting during this trip a wedding was held during mass on December 14th. The bride, groom, and wedding party were smartly dressed.


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 Fr Johnson leading a couple in exchange of wedding vows

In addition to the main school (Notre Dame primary and Fr. Bruny high school), Les Palmes has 8 remote chapel schools. Volunteer Paul Van Hemel and I hiked to the newest school, St. Michael, and have now visited all of the remote schools.


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Volunteer Paul VanHemel with translator Lamothe Lormier meet local residents

Fr. Johnson expects a big crowd for their Christmas midnight mass. A big celebration will follow mass. A non-profit group has stopped funding the medical support for the local clinic. We are talking to Fr. Johnson, a local medical group, and HNJ nurses/doctors to see if we can find a way to keep the clinic operating. There are very, very few medical clinics in the mountains.


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Sign at the clinic in Les Palmes

The Notre Dame primary school and Fr. Bruny high school are looking very shabby. We are looking for people interested in spending a few days in Les Palmes to help paint both schools.


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Fr Buny high school in need of minor repairs and fresh paint

We will hold our 2015 Vacation Bible School program at the end of June, beginning of July. As a special highlight, we will visit 3 remote chapels. These are always rewarding and a lot of fun for both the students and HNJ volunteers. Warning: some mountain hiking will be required on these trips.


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The beautiful countryside of Haiti and some mountains you will be hiking in


Students were taking their government exams during our visit. Paul and I did our best to answer the 3rd grade French language, social studies questions. (Paul did better than me but I think we will both remain in 3rd grade for a while longer.) This year, Durissy welcomed their first high school students. The school has a total of 346 students (including 78 high school students).

Fr. Anis is hosting a Christmas party for the students on December 26. A special thanks to Santa and Mrs. Claus (they look a lot like past Haiti team leaders Jim and Mary Ann Loafman) for sending presents for all the children.

Morne a Chandelle

We learned never to underestimate Fr. Petit but this time, he exceeded all expectations. A Cardinal from Rome came to Morne to bless his new school.


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Welcome sign for the Cardinal

The road leading to Morne is very bumpy and rattles your brain (Lamothe calls it a 'Haitian massage") so we wondered about the Cardinal. Fr. Petit said no problem -- he flew to Morne on a helicopter. (I can't wait for Fr. Tony and Hearts Out to Haiti to buy me a helicopter for my trips up the mountain.)


The new 5 classroom school is beautiful. Fr. Petit is now fundraising to buy blackboards, desks, and chairs. This is a great opportunity for someone to sponsor a classroom. Fr. Petit proudly told us the government ranked his main school, St. Michael, as one of the top 29 schools in the entire country. Congratulations, Fr. Petit. Do to their success, more parents want their children to attend Fr. Petit's schools. St. Michael has record enrollment and a new remote chapel/school (St. Elizabeth) opened this year. There are a total of 1,700 students in Morne's main school and 6 remote chapel/schools.   


HOH Supporters

A special thanks to Clare Tomaselli, Brenda Jones, Kelly Wixted, Judy Shepard and her amazing collectors!!!!, Marion Ambrose (Melbourne Women's Group), Paul & Barbara VanHemel, Jim and Mary Ann Loafman, Fr. Tony, HNJ staff and all of our supporters for sending gifts to our Haitian friends. The necklaces, bracelets, children's dresses, Mafa Bible pictures, teachers' gift bags, ties, scarves, dress shirts, Christmas M&M's, children's gifts, and of course, soccer balls were wonderful.

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Teachers wearing their gifts of necklaces and bracelets from volunteer Clare Tomaselli



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Teachers with their gift bags of much needed supplies from volunteer Judy Shepard’s and her team


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Friend of the mission Lamothe Lormier (blue jeans) helps to distribute soccer balls to remote chapels from Kelly Wixted and her team


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Fr Johnson with children in their new dresses from Marion Ambrose and her team


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Fr Petit and a few children with new dresses from Marion Ambrose and her team

On behalf of Fr. Johnson, Fr. Anis, and Fr. Petit, they asked us to thank everyone at HNJ, give everyone a big hug, and wish them a Merry Christmas.


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Note From Fr. Anis


Coconut Nativity

Coconut and stone Nativity made in Haiti




Dear Benefactor,


Christmas is the greatest gift that God donates to the humanity. Jesus is among us. We praise the Lord for his bounty and for the gift of your life. This note is for wishing you a Christmas filled with the light of God’s love, the light that you reflect as you serve Christ by so faithfully serving others.


Thank you for your devotion, dedication and service. Thanks also for supporting my hard mission in Haiti.


Merry Christmas and Happy New year 2015!

Many blessings

Father Anis