< return

Haiti Trip Fosters Community Bonds

Posted: October 01, 2017

by Bill McInnis
from the
September 24, 2017 bulletin

As our trip to Haiti this past June drew near, I found myself growing increasingly excited. I looked forward to visiting Sister Luvia and again witnessing her faith. I was particularly excited about seeing the new orphanage. I was also quite happy we had a team of 16 traveling to Haiti, six from St. Pius X, eight from St. Joseph Parish in Pewamo and two videographers.

It was good to spend time with Sister Luvia and her sisters. I was particularly happy to visit the girls at the orphanage and the students at St. Alphonsus School. I exercised my limited command of Haitian Creole and was pleasantly surprised to hear the children read the English in my translation book.

 With ArtPrize 9 underway, we can look forward to ArtPrize 10. Bill came up with the idea of bringing attention to Haiti via ArtPrize. Haitian students were asked to draw something that gives them hope. A Michigan artist plans to incorporate the work into an entry for next year. Here is one of the many drawings created.

With ArtPrize 9 underway, we can look forward to ArtPrize 10. Bill came up with the idea of bringing attention to Haiti via ArtPrize. Haitian students were asked to draw something that gives them hope. A Michigan artist plans to incorporate the work into an entry for next year. Here is one of the many drawings created.

I found the trip very rewarding spiritually. The group formed tight bonds. We attended daily Mass and evening prayer, which helped bring us closer together. The trip went smoothly, in large part, because of the careful planning by Michele Stutzky, who has a real passion for the people of Haiti. This passion is also evident in her daughter, Kailey.

I must also mention our two newcomers from St. Pius X – Julie Utrup and Brian Stoffer. Julie provided valuable input about financial matters. When Brian dis-covered Sister Luvia was suffering from asthma, he spent hours seeking to get her prescriptions refilled. He determined an air conditioner would help. We chipped-in to supplement the parish funds and purchased a portable air conditioner. Sr. Luvia reports she has not had any asthma attacks since.

On the flight home, I was given Sacred Rhythms, a book about the Byzantine lifestyle. The author speaks about the importance of community. As I look back on the trip, I experienced a strong sense of community – not only among the 16 team members, but also with our Haitian friends. This community helped strengthen my faith.

I continue to be amazed how three communities—St. Pius X, St. Joseph, and Sister Luvia— work together to achieve various goals. God’s love is so present in the three communities. I am very grateful to be a member of a community that takes Jesus’ calling to serve the poor very seriously.

Bill is a psychologist and leads Liturgy of the Word for Children