On Friday evening, October 18, the Haiti Outreach Program will celebrate a significant milestone. This year’s annual medical banquet will be dedicated to the dozens of men, women and students who over two decades have been a part of the Haiti Outreach program. This year’s event will be unique in a number of ways. Instead of the basketball goals in the Sacred Heart school gym, the reception and dinner will be held against the backdrop of stained glass in the Parish Hall, the church’s beautiful former sanctuary.
Our guests will include Cardinal Chibly Langlois of Haiti. He was created cardinal by Pope Francis in 2014 and is among the leading voices of Catholicism in the Caribbean. Cardinal Langlois is the foremost Catholic leader to attend our banquet. His presence is an enormous honor for our Haiti outreach program.
Cardinal Langlois will be joined by two priests from our sister parish, St. Michel, in Boucan Carre. Father Michenet DuPortal, St. Michel’s pastor since 2010, has recently been transferred to another parish. In a hundred ways, large and small, Father DuPortal has been a wonderful partner whose help and advice have made a tremendous positive contribution to the success of our mission in Haiti.
His replacement is Father Michelet Lamarre, who arrived at St. Michel in August. Father Lamarre will be coming to Knoxville at an especially important time. Sporadic political unrest has made it unsafe for our mission teams to travel to Haiti for almost two years. Our continued absence, combined with the learning curve of a new priest, will be an enormous challenge to the staff at our medical clinic and to the teachers at the primary and secondary schools we support. The chance to discuss these issues with both priests will be an invaluable opportunity to make plans for the coming year together.