Parish, Knights council to help rebuild church in Haiti

| September 18, 2019 | 0 Comments

Dr. Mark Millis, a volunteer with St. Joseph the Worker of Maple Grove’s efforts to help St. Catherine d’ Alexandre parish in Bouzy, Haiti, views the rubble of St. Catherine Church April 5. COURTESY SUZANNE KOENIGS

A parish that has provided 10 years of pastoral, medical and other assistance to a church in Haiti is branching out with a construction project.

St. Joseph the Worker and Knights of Columbus Council 13359, both in Maple Grove, are holding an Oct. 5 benefit dinner for sister parish St. Catherine d’ Alexandre in Bouzy, Haiti, which several months ago lost its church to damage from years of earthquakes and hurricanes.

Parishes across the archdiocese have similar sister parish relationships with congregations in other countries. This effort marks another direction in St. Joseph the Worker’s relationship, said Patrick Farrelly, a parishioner and Knight who is helping organize the event.

The benefit at Edinburgh USA Golf Course in Brooklyn Park will feature Matt Birk, a member of St. Joseph in West St. Paul and former Minnesota Vikings center and Super Bowl winner with the Baltimore Ravens, providing an “Evening of All-Pro Wisdom.”

Cost is $150 and a table of eight is $1,200.

Organizers hope to raise $20,000 toward the expected $400,000 cost of rebuilding St. Catherine Church, Farrelly said.

There is no insurance in Haiti. The church suffered damage in a 2010 earthquake, and more damage from hurricanes that followed, Farrelly said.

Finally, the roof collapsed, and the crumbling walls had to be torn down, he said.

St. Joseph the Worker’s and the Knights’ decade of service to St. Catherine has included priests and parishioners going twice a year to provide pastoral care and medical supplies and assistance.

Volunteers often say they get more out of the visits than they are able to give, because of the relationships that are built and the example of faith provided by St. Catherine parishioners, Farrelly said.

In late 2017, retired St. Joseph pastor Father Don Piche’ and four parishioners escaped from their vehicle when it was swamped as their driver tried to cross a creek swollen by heavy rain.

For the first time this fall, St. Joseph the Worker volunteers will not be able to make a trip to Haiti, because of political unrest there, Farrelly said. But volunteers made it there last spring, and the relationship continues, he said.

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Category: Local News