Mission Statement – The St. Ann Haiti Outreach provides parishioners of St. Ann in Hagerstown and St. Claire in Dessalines, Haiti an opportunity to experience the Universal Church and serve one another as brothers and sisters in faith.
Why an Outreach to Haiti? – The Archdiocese of Baltimore is partnered with the Diocese of Gonaives in Haiti. Over twenty parishes in the Archdiocese of Baltimore are partnered with parishes in the Diocese of Gonaives. St. Ann parish has been one of those parishes for over 15 years. These partnerships feed thousands of malnourished school children and help Haitian communities “help themselves”. Both parishes benefit from the exchange.
1. Partnership – This is a partnership in which both partners bring value to the relationship and in which both partners receive value from the relationship. We will approach all of our activities identifying the value exchange. Activities should be “done with” our partner and never “done to” or “done for” a partner. Activities should be undertaken with input and value added by both partners. We should work in a way that allows parishioners of St Ann see how they benefit from the partnership, how they are recipients in a different but equally important way.
2. Faith – This is a partnership that is based in the faith of God and Jesus Christ. Our activities should attempt to reflect the will of God and prayer should be an integral part of all that we do.
3. Sustainability – Activities undertaken by St. Ann Parish should aim to be Development activities that strengthen St Claire and its parishioners for the long term and enhance their capability and self-sufficiency. Relief and Recovery activities should be limited to crisis scenarios such as an earthquake or a medical crisis. We should avoid activities that may lead to dependencies and embrace activities that make both partners stronger.
4. Transparency of Actions and Funding – The St. Ann Committee’s actions and spending will be fully transparent to the parish and financial supporters of the committee. Money raised for a specified activity will be used only for that activity. Our intentions and activities will also be transparent to our partner parish, St. Claire. We will also encourage transparency on the part of the pastor of our partner parish to his parishioners.
Strategic Projects (in priority):
1. School Feeding Program (Littlest Angels) – Money is raised each year during Lent to feed the youngest students in the schools of St. Claire Parish. This feeding program provides a daily hot meal (4 days/wk) to approximately 800+students each year. The meal is an incentive to parents of St. Claire to send their children to school and in many cases it is the only meal that child will get on those days. While the feeding program itself could be categorized as a “hand out”, the effect of the feeding program, getting more children into school, is clearly a Development activity that enhances the capability of the people of St. Claire.
We invite you to join this partnership between St Ann and St Claire this Lent by supporting one or more of these “Littlest Angels”. Our goal is to feed 800 students. The cost is $75 per child, which feeds that child all year. Won’t you help?
2. Summer Camp – When possible, during the summer a group of youth and adults from St. Ann travels to St. Claire to conduct a one week camp for a select group of students from St. Claire’s schools (approx. 100). The honor of being selected to attend the camp is motivation during the school year for the students of St. Claire schools. The youth and adults from St. Ann that conduct the camp get a unique and potentially life-changing opportunity to see a third world country first hand and to engage the children and people of St. Claire Parish in a close and personal way. The interactions have the potential to be life altering for everyone involved from both parishes.
3. Winter Trip – Periodically adults from St. Ann travel to St. Claire to follow-up on joint projects that may be going on and to see the Littlest Angels feeding program in action. Additionally, training programs on various items such as water purification, hygiene, first aid and rosary making have been conducted.
4. Trade School – Fr. Alexis has requested that St. Ann assist him in with the trade school he has started. This is not a current project.
Other Regular Activities
1. Prayer Exchange – Each week the parishioners of each parish pray during mass for the other parish. This is generally done at the Prayer of the Faithful. Additionally, other types of prayer exchange are encouraged and facilitated. These generally occur around a trip to St. Claire from St. Ann parishioners but it is not limited to trips. Prayer ‘strips’ and a children’s ‘hand banner’ are examples.
2. Spirituality Outreach – To increase the spiritual connection between our two parishes we have started an outreach where each parish makes rosaries for the first communicants in the others parish. We are in our 2nd year for this and it has been successful. We encourage the parents of our first communicants to make rosaries and we have a group of individuals who meet to help make them. We provide the supplies for the parishioners of St. Claire to make rosaries for our children making their first communion.
3. Priest Visits – It is the desire of the Haiti Committee for the priest of St. Claire to come to St. Ann about every two years to get an opportunity to interact with the parishioners of St. Ann. This usually involves concelebrating mass, a social gathering with parishioners and a business meeting with Committee members. We also encourage the priest of St. Ann to visit St. Claire every 3 to 4 years to help maintain a strong relationship between the pastors.
YOU Can Be Involved in the Haiti Outreach:
You can help with different projects: for instance, making rosaries for the first communicants of St Claire or participating in the planning for the visits by the pastor of St Claire or preparing the Littlest Angels envelopes.
If you want to be part of the Haiti Outreach at St Ann, we welcome you.
The Haiti Outreach Committee meets about 5 times a year.
Let us know of your interest by contacting St. Ann parish office at 301-733-0410 ext 4.