January 27, 2020
Dear Supporters of the Haitian Orthodox Mission,
"Let us offer our sacrifices upon the altar of love to our neighbor, with heart-felt affection: for God loves a cheerful giver" St John of Kronstadt
Greetings in Christ! Thank you for your generous support throughout the year 2019! The Haitian faithful send their love and prayers to each and every one of you! Bishop Maximus, the Dean of Latin America and the Caribbean, Fr. Dmtri Wieber, Alexander Queen, the warden of the Holy Ascension parish in Bearsville, and myself have just returned from a truly "Apostolic" journey to Haiti. As you may have heard, we have another parish (dedicated to St Irenaeus of Lyons) that has joined us, led by the newly ordained Fr. Abramios and a faithful parish of over 150 people in a small agrarian village called Mayisad. We ended our journey there at St Irenaeus with an amazing outpouring of hospitality, love and serious Orthodox spiritual striving. The faithful are in the midst of constructing a new church in which Vespers, Divine Liturgy, and the ordinations were celebrated. Like the rest of our churches in Haiti, St Irenaeus comes with a school that covers grades K-8 with 300 students. They will be receiving Orthodox catechism on a dally basis in each grade level. Fr. Abramios was received into the GOC upon our arrival on January 12th and then ordained just after Theophany in his hometown of Mayisad.
On the feast of Theophany we journeyed to the capital of Port-au-Prince where St. Dorothy Orthodox Church has been a beacon to the faithful for over 15 years. The rector of this parish, Fr. Ambrose, is our most senior priest and has been instrumental In advancing the Orthodox faith throughout the central portion of Haiti. His parish, as all of our parishes, are in need of your prayers and support. Our largest church in Haiti is in Cyvadier, near Jakmel, on the southern coast of the island and is dedicated to St Augustine. For many years they have struggled along without a priest - and now they have both a priest, Fr. Nicholas, and a deacon, Fr. Deacon Luke, to serve the faithful. They were both ordained in the week preceding Holy Theophany. This past year has been a boon for the faithful in Cyvadier as we have been able to start reconstructing their church, which was badly damaged by water and by the earthquake ten years ago. The school next door, also dedicated to St. Augustine, was ravaged in the same cataclysm. We were able to complete the restoration of the high school and middle school portion of school, and now await the ability to finish the elementary school portion, which consists of four badly damaged classrooms.
I am writing you today to ask for your prayers for all of these priests and their flocks (Fr. Ambrose, Fr Abramios, and Fr Nicolas and all the faithful of Haiti). For the first time we have a priest in each parish, a functioning school attached to each parish and a lively group of faithful that is growing and striving spiritually along with us. Each parish can now partake of the true and sacred Liturgical life - the Life in Christ! They have vowed to give us their prayers and I'm asking you to continue to give them our prayers as v/ell as any material support you can muster during this Lenten season and throughout the year. Donations can be given through our website, haitianorthodoxmission.org or by mail to Haitian Mission/St. Maximus Orthodox Church, 4447 Gaskill Road, Owego, NY 13827 (checks payable to Haiti Mission/ St Maximus).
I am begging your forgiveness for being so forward. The Haitians thank you heartily and wish you a good fast and spiritual striving and much spiritual fruit during this pre-Lenten season.
Lazarus Gehring, M.D.
Liaison Haitian Orthodox Mission
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