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Efforts to help Haiti continue in archdiocese

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Friday, March 26, 2010

ARCHDIOCESE — Catholics in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati continue to respond to the catastrophic Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti with generosity, compassion and the desire to do more for our brothers and sisters in the impoverished nation.

In early February St. John the Baptist School in Dry Ridge (a pastoral area school serving the parishes of St. John the Baptist, Corpus Christi and St. John Neumann), collected a total of $525 to give to Haiti, along with canned goods, non-perishable food items, cleaning supplies and a variety of other necessities. Through Matthew 25 Ministries, these donations were sent to Haiti with the help of Two Men and a Truck transportation business.

 Display of paper hearts
A display of paper hearts at St. John the Baptist School in Dry Ridge shows the students’ prayers and hopes for Haiti. (Courtesy photo)

The school also put up a beautiful display of paper hearts with prayers and illustrations showing their hope for Haiti.
Students at St.  Gabriel Consolidated School in Glendale also did their part during Catholic Schools Week to support the relief effort. Over a period of three days, students in all grades collected a total of $1,325.
St. Ursula Academy students raised nearly $11,000 for relief efforts in Haiti. The money will be donated to Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Partners in Health, and Notre Dame de Lourdes House of Girls of God, a Haiti orphanage. The total will be divided evenly among the three charities.
The day after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, the academy reacted quickly and announced it would host four weekly classroom mission collections to help raise money. St. Ursula’s Community Service Office and the In-School Service Events (ISSE) Club coordinated the efforts and set the four week goal at $2,000, more than double the usual amount collected by the students for monthly mission collections.  The students responded to the great need and raised $5,889.38 for the relief efforts through their classroom collections. The proceeds will be generously matched up to $5,000 by the Thie Family Fund.
McNicholas High School French National Honor Society members organized a crepes breakfast before school as a fundraiser for Haiti. For $2, students could buy a homemade crepe with fruit and chocolate toppings. Crepes for a Cause earned $248, and the money was given to CRS. The school also contributed half of its annual Penny Day collection to CRS.
The money raised during Penny Day traditionally goes towards Catholic education for those in need in the local community, however the school has in the past sent a portion of the funds to tsunami and Hurricane Katrina victims and other special causes. This year McNicholas was able to donate $4,000 to CRS.

 Penny Day collection
McNicholas High School students donated $4,000 from their annual Penny Day collection to the Haiti relief effort. (Courtesy photo)

Like so many in the area Catholic community, Father Len Fecko was deeply concerned when he heard the news about the destructive earthquake in Haiti that took place in early January.
“When (the earthquake) happened, I was glued to the television,” he said.
While Father Fecko was aware of the immediate consequences caused by the earthquake, he also wanted to know more about why the country had been poor for such a long time.
Father Fecko, who doesn’t have a full-time assignment because he is currently on medical leave, said he incorporated Haiti into his homily on Jan. 17 at Good Shepherd Parish in Montgomery. It was the same weekend as the Gospel of the wedding feast at Cana.
Father Fecko said he conveyed the message that Jesus not only turned water into wine, but that it was also an abundance of water into an abundance of the choicest wine. He said area Catholics are called to help Haiti.
“We can perform a miracle, and we can usher in a new age for the people of Haiti,” Father Fecko said.
After his homily, Father Fecko was invited to speak with a group of about 60 seventh- and eighth-grade students at Good Shepherd Parish on Jan. 24.
Barb Wagner, a volunteer catechist at the parish, had been discussing the themes of Catholic social teaching with the students, so the presentation had a proper fit.
“His talk fit very well with the theme as well as giving the students a good understanding of the history of Haiti and why we are all being called to help our brothers and sisters in need,” Wagner said.

Since the presentation, Father Fecko has received plenty of positive feedback from other priests. He said he is willing to present his information to other parishes that are interested in Haiti.
On March 30 Father Fecko will make a presentation to St. Henry Parish in Sidney. The faith community has had a twinning relationship with a parish in Haiti for a number of years. Father Fecko is considering a possible trip to Haiti next winter.

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