Bishop Desinord Jean’s message to the parishioners of Sacred Heart in Knoxville.
My Brothers and Sisters in Knoxville, especially parishioners from Sacred Heart in Knoxville, I send you warm greetings from the Diocese of Hinche, especially from your friends in Boucan Carré.
As you know, gang violence creates a lot of danger and suffering for the people in Port-au-Prince. I record this message on October 20. I pray that when you receive it the hostages are home safely. We are thankful that the gangs are not here in the Diocese of Hinche. Along with this violence and political instability, Haiti keeps being hit by natural disasters. The August 14 earthquake makes the situation even more complicated. Efforts in Haiti and abroad are being deployed to relieve the victims and consider the recovery of affected populations in the long term. Obviously, with Covid-19 and other problems occurring all over the world, Haiti is no longer at the center of interest.
However, we continue to count on the support of friends who never give up on Haiti.
We are grateful to all who carry us in their hearts and prayers and to all who provide their support which is crucial to us. However, we ask them to think about changing the paradigm, while continuing to help us, above all to help us so that we can help ourselves. A friend of mine loves to use this image: Imagine the position of the hands of the one who gives and that of the one who receives, at a certain point in the relationship, this position must evolve so that the recipient feels valued by developing and the position of the hands of the two parties becomes a handshake. The one who is used to receiving feels more dignity and is ready to turn his hand to give in turn, showing solidarity with others who are in need. This is the pattern we intend to create in the Diocese of Hinche when we set up, with the guidance of the Catholic Leadership Institute, the Strategic Plan for our diocese. We involve all the parishes in this dynamic by seeking to involve all the partners who support them so that their commitment has more impact. Today is hard for your brothers and sisters in Haiti. With Faith and a shared vision, we can lead them to a better tomorrow. Please join us on this journey.
Let me share with you my plan for the parish of Saint Michel, which you have been supporting for over twenty years. It is a long road, an unwavering commitment for which I express my deep gratitude to you. Msgr David Boettner and the Haiti committee of the parish of the Sacred Heart of Knoxville understood the need to build a new church because the existing one is in very bad shape and represents a danger for the parishioners. The Knoxville team succeeded in engaging the parish of Saint Anselm in the project. It is an encouraging sign. Fr Lamare is honored to learn that the church will be built to a new specification. Our leadership team is working with an architect to create a consistent design for churches in the diocese. This will assure that they are built according to earthquake and cyclonic standards at a reasonable cost. We have a plan for a temporary worship center, and with your support, we hope that the new church will be rebuilt soon.
Very soon, we intend to erect the chapel of Sivol as a parish and Bouly will fall under the control of Sivol. This new parish will allow the faithful to have a priest nearby.
As I have just said, the journey that you undertook alongside the parish of Saint Michel de Boucan Carré lasts more than 20 years now. A long journey made of understanding and respect. It is a living sign of the gospel that Jesus Christ left us. Your support and commitment continue to make a difference in the life of the community. More children have the chance to go to school, more people can benefit from health care, and more people are touched by the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Boucan Carré and all these chapels, including Bouly, would not have been what they are now without your unwavering support. And we are very, very grateful to you.
Continue to keep Haiti in your prayers, continue to support your brothers and sisters in Boucan Carré and get involved with us in the new paradigm that we are establishing in the Diocese of Hinche.
May God bless you all!
+ Desinord Jean
Bishop of Hinche