We raise funds to support the maintenance and operation of a church and two schools for St. Francis Parish in Les Cayes, Haiti, and for a new school and parish center for a mountain mission just outside of Les Cayes. St. Francis Parish is a Franciscan Mission and Seminary, and serves the people of Les Cayes, who used to worship and meet in a deteriorating large outdoor tent. They now attend mass in a modern facility built with donations from caring people. The church and schools were damaged in the recent earthquake, and we are raising funds for their current repair. We are also constructing a new school and parish center in a nearby mountain mission to replace a facility destroyed by the earthquake, which unfortunately claimed the life of a dedicated priest as he evacuated the children.
How Franciscans in Action Began
Franciscans in Action grew out of a mission trip to Haiti in April of 2012 by Deacon Enock Berluche and Bill Mosca, Jr. Deacon Enock and his wife grew up near the current mission site, and the Deacon has visited his home country many times over the years in support of mission services. Deacon Enock told Bill of the Mission Parish and its tent church, and how the people had great difficulty hearing the priests speak at mass. Deacon Enock and Bill brought a state-of-the-art sound system to the Parish, and the parishioners had no further difficulties hearing the priests. After attending the first mass in the tent church using the new equipment, Deacon Enock and Bill toured the premises. There was a banana field adjacent to the tent church. Father Armand, the pastor, told of his dream to build a real church in that banana field. He also related his longer-term desire to build a community center with a health clinic to serve the area, and to fund the operation of two schools.
At that moment the Deacon and Bill had an epiphany: as they gazed at the overgrown banana field, they saw the “treasure in the field” described by St. Matthew in the Gospel. They saw the place where the new church would rise, where God’s Word would spread, where faith would grow and prosper. At that time they “bought the whole field for joy” – they vowed to raise the funds to build that church.
Over the next few years, Deacon Enock and Bill established the Franciscans In Action charitable organization and raised the funds necessary to complete construction of the church, and the first mass was celebrated in the completed structure on Christmas Eve in 2015.
Since then, Franciscans In Action has continued to raise funds to assist with the ongoing operation of the schools, as well as repairs to the church and the schools following Hurricane Matthew, which devastated the area in 2016.
Where We Are Now
On August 14, 2021, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck southwestern Haiti, and the Franciscans In Action missions suffered losses, both human and property. A school building collapsed at our mountain mission, and although the children all managed to escape, the supervising priest died in the rubble. Many others were killed or injured as well. Most houses in the parish were destroyed, and the homes left standing suffered significant damage. Franciscans In Action took immediate steps to provide emergency relief funds to assist with shelter, clean water and food supplies for the people of the parish. The church structure suffered extensive damage to the roof support structure and a wall near the back of the church building, and minor damage toward the front. Our current priorities are to restore the mission church and build a community center to replace the school that collapsed at the mountain mission.
What We Need to Continue Our Mission
Here is our estimate of the moneys necessary to complete our vision:
- Church Sacristy – the Parish wishes to construct a sacristy at the back of the church to house sacred vessels, vestments and to store church equipment. We estimate the cost at $25,000.
- Community Center – this will be a meeting place and social services center, and will include a health clinic. We estimate the cost at $100,000.
- School Chapels with Classrooms – we will construct two chapels with additional classrooms at the schools, including a canteen area for meals, at an estimated cost of $40,000.
- Annual School Budget – we estimate that the Parish can run the schools for $25,000 annually.
Your Generosity Can Help
Please visit our donor page and make a contribution via PayPal. Or, please mail a check payable to Franciscans in Action, 222 Mt. Airy Rd., Suite 200, Basking Ridge, New Jersey, 07920.