Monday, August 24, 2015

A Haitian Mass to remember

 Hello everyone,
It's been ages since my last post, which was almost one and a half years ago.  I have countless news, events and topics I want to share.  I have the ideas, the photos, even the wording written down in my mind--but didn't have the time to actually sign into Blogger and get the job done. Finally I arrived to make a little time to put together a few pics from a very nice, highly emotional moment from Sunday, August 15, 2015.

Our Parish, St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Newport, RI, has a new priest. When at the end of June our former pastor retired, the new pastor appointed to lead the Parish was Fr. Jacques Chavannes, who is from Haiti and who lived in Haiti until very recently, taking care of numberless social issues in addition to the spiritual ones.

Independently of the pastor's background, in early August every year St. Joseph's celebrates a Haitian Mass because for twenty-five years the Parish has been actively involved in a Haitian ministry, supporting a school and, beyond stationery supplies, providing for the healthcare, housing, sanitation, and nutrition needs of the children and their families.

Every year the Haitian choir from St. Michael's in Providence is invited to perform during the Mass. St. Michael's is a very old Catholic church that is very well-known for being the "first home" of numerous immigrants of all faiths and from all corners of the globe to the United States.

I'm the first one to emphatically oppose the idea that adopted children should be raised with more contact with their culture of origin than they want. That only sets an unnecessary and unwarranted difference between the adopted children and their forever families. But that Mass and that culminating moment at St. Joseph's were the exception.

Towards the end of the Mass, Fr. Jacques asked Thomas and Nicholas to approach. Nothing could be better for Thomas than to be turned into the center of attention. He was immediately walking towards the altar.  Although typically not shy, Nicholas was a little more hesitant--but Fr. Jacques came to our pew, grabbed his hands, and got him to the altar as well.

That allowed me the additional time I needed to quickly enter the password to my iPhone and shoot a few pictures. I don't know how audible my voice was, but as I was standing there with my phone in my hand, I said, "Two blessings from Haiti."

 All the congregation clapped hands at them. As a devout cradle Catholic I do believe that during Mass you're even closer to God. Well, for Thomas and Nicholas that moment and that ovation were literally Heaven on earth.

Then, Nicholas started dancing with the Haitian choir.  At the time of his homecoming in 2008 at the age of seven, he could walk already but was unable to keep his head straight on his shoulders. It is just incredible, amazing, how well he manages to dance. If you look at him when he walks, you have to refrain yourself from the temptation to hold his hand. He always seems to be about to fall, and yet most of the time still manages to keep his balance.

I'll let the pictures tell the rest. After all, someone said that "one picture is worth a thousand words."

God bless everyone.

And . . . just a little P.S. from January 14 this year. The following are some of the thousands of pics that I've been taking and wanting to post during all this time when I didn't even touch my blog. The pics below were taken at the Parish office one day and show Thomas and Nicholas delivering a few school supplies for the school in Haiti. It was no more than a couple of items purchased at the Dollar Tree--nothing even remotely comparable to the very large donations that my parents and anyone else in my family would have made but I cannot. Yet, for Thomas and Nicholas it meant the experience of helping kids in need in their former homeland.

The lady to the right is a volunteer who was covering for the Parish secretary.


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