Pray for Fr. Effener and Our Sister Parish in Haiti

The Haiti Committee is asking all OLL parishioners to pray for the safety of Fr. Effener and all parishioners of our sister parish, Sts. Anne and Joachim in Labranle, Haiti. The situation in Haiti is dire, with gang violence and political instability constantly increasing. Below are two recent messages we received from Fr. Effener explaining the situation in his parish. Thank you for your continued financial support of our sister parish, which has funded teacher salaries and a water purification system.

An Email from Fr. Effener

A member of the Haiti Committee, which coordinates our relationship with our sister parish, recently received this email from their pastor, Fr. Effener:

I thank you for your email. First, I have to tell you that I am now in Orlando. I arrived Tuesday and I’ll come back  to Haiti on May 8. I thank you for everything you left for me at my sister’s house.

The parish is doing well. We are already starting to prepare for the parish’s patronal feast (Sts. Anne and Joachim on July 26). Some young people have left the parish to seek a better life in the United States through the Biden program. But these gaps were quickly filled with new parishioners who received the sacraments (Baptism, the Eucharist, and cCnfirmation). On the Easter Eve we had 16 adolescents and young people who received the Sacrament of Baptism. Around twenty are preparing to receive the First Communion in June. The parishioners really appreciate the hot meals that we give them twice a month after Sunday Masses.

Regarding Christ the King School, we have nothing to complain about because God always does wonders for us. Schools in the nearby city of Gonaives could not operate for more than two months due to acts of banditry. However, here in Labranle, as in other parts of the countryside, Christ the King School operates every day and the students were able to find food at school to be able to learn better. As for transporting teachers, we wouldn’t know what to do if you haven’t bought the two motorcycles for us because the cost of transport is very high. We thank you. 

The students of the school come to Mass every Sunday. Some Masses are led by the school choir. The toilets are working well so far. I tell you again, you can count on your fingers the schools in Gonaives that have this type of toilet. There aren’t many of them. Thank you once again.

God bless you!

In Christ, Fr. Effener

A Previous Update from Fr. Effener

In Haiti, we continue to survive under insecurity, which continues to multiply deaths every day. What’s worse is that we can’t move around. Everyone remains prisoners because the roads are controlled by bandits who rape, kidnap, and kill people in the streets.

A Previous Message from Fr. Effener

I thank the committee for having approved the monthly salary of the teachers and the tuition for the two students who are in teacher training in Gonaives. On behalf of the students, their parents, and the teachers, I thank you very much.

I thank you for your incessant prayers for the parishioners, students, and teachers. We need peace and security. Everyone suffers from it. One of my brothers bought a plane ticket for me to travel at the beginning of March, but I couldn’t go because there were no flights. I hope after Easter the flights will start again.

There is no problem going to the bank to get the money. In Gonaives, there are no acts of banditry, though sometimes a small group of people stage demonstrations. There are no kidnappings or crimes like in Port-au-Prince. You cannot leave Gonaives to go to other cities (L’estere, Saint Marc, Port-au-Prince, etc.), but there is no problem getting around Gonaives and transfers are secure.

School activities are going very well. In the countryside, as in Labranle, we have no problem of insecurity. In Gonaives, some schools that are in places where people are demonstrating do not work. However, the other schools work well. We work every day, although the situation has consequences on the children, but that does not stop them from working and learning.

The water system continues to function perfectly and serve the community. Gradually, we are seeing a small increase in the number of people coming to buy water. Frankly, people really like this water. They even talk about it in Gonaives with other people. We sometimes meet certain people who come from Gonaives when coming to visit their loved ones in Labranle. They bring gallons to buy water since it is cheaper than in Gonaives.

God bless you!

In Christ, Fr. Effener