Tuesday, December 21, 2010

a different set of Great O's - O come, Emmanuel - Ven, Dios humanado

I went to participate in Las Posadas and La Novena de Navidad last week with my parish, St. Luke's-San Lucas, Chelsea.  It's a combination of different Latin American Christmas traditions, a series that runs nightly from December 16-24 in which the community reenacts the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem.

I would like to post more about it later if I have time, but tonight I want to share with you a few excerpts from a responsive meditation entitled "Aspiraciones para la Venida del Niño Jesús/Hopeful Expectations for the Coming of the Baby Jesus."  It reminds me of the "Great O Antiphons" that most of us first learned by singing "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel."  I’m sure there must be shared roots, perhaps from medieval times. 

The way we did it was for each part of the prayer to be read by a different person, and then all would sing the refrain.  I'm not sure if this is how it is always done, but it seemed to work.  In our case, most of the reading was done in Spanish since I was the only Anglo present that night. 

I will post each part I'm sharing first in Spanish, then in the (somewhat free) English translation which was given off to the side in my service booklet.

Sung refrain:
Dulce Jesús mío
Mi Niño adorado,
Ven a nuestras almas,
Ven no tardes tanto!

My sweet Jesus,
My beloved child
Come to our souls,
Come without delay!

Oh Sabiduria suprema del Dios soberano
Que bajas del cielo como un niño
Para abrazarnoes tiernamente,
Oh divino Niño, ven para enseñarnos la prudencia
Que hace verdaderos sabios.

Oh supreme Wisdom of the sovereign God,
Who comes down as a child
To meet us in loving embrace,
Oh divine Child, come to teach us prudence,
Which is the mother of all wisdom.

(Sung refrain)

Rey de las naciones
Glorioso Emmanuel,
Añoranza de Israel,
Pastor del rebaño,
Niño que apacientas con suave bastón,
Ya a la oveja arisca,
Ya al cordero manso.

King of the nations,
Glorious Emmanuel,
Israel's hope,
Shepherd of the flock
Child who calms with gentle rod
Both the untamed sheep
And the docile lamb.

(Sung refrain)

Abranse los cielos
Y lluevan de lo alto benediciones,
Como riego santo.
Ven, hermoso Niño,
Ven, Dios humanado,
Luce hemosa estrella,
Brota flor del campo.

Let the gates of heaven be opened
And blessings pour down
Like holy rain.
Come, beautiful Child,
Come, incarnate God,
Shine, beautiful star,
Spring up, flower from the field.

(Sung refrain)

Ven, que ya María alista sus brazos
Para acunar al Niño en tiempo cercano.
Ven, que ya José con sagrado anhelo,
Se dispone a hacerse
De tu amor sagrario.

Come, divine Word, as Mary longs to hold
her Baby in her arms in a fast approaching hour! 
Come, divine Word, as Joseph opens his heart to you
so that it may become the tabernacle of your love.

(Sung refrain)

Auxilio del débil,
Bálsamo del doliente,
Consuelo del triste,
Luz del desterrado.
Vida de mi vida, mi dueño adorado,
Mi constante amigo, mi divino hermano.

Strength of the weak,
Balm of the afflicted,
Comfort of those who grieve,
Hope of the outcast,
Life of my life, my beloved Lord, 
my steadfast friend, my divine brother.

(Sung refrain)

Ven Salvador nuestro
Por quien suspiramos.

Come, you long awaited Savior!

(Sung refrain)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

...and there was much rejoicing

The two sisters due into Boston from Port-au-Prince last night actually arrived: as it turns out, theirs was the first flight out when the airport reopened.  So they are home safe and sound (please keep the others in your prayers)...

...and there was much rejoicing.

My parish had been devasted by the theft of all its copper water pipes last week.  And now another parish has taken up a generous collection for their replacement...

...and there was much rejoicing.

Tomorrow is my monthly retreat day.  I am so ready for it...

...and there was much rejoicing.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

wings like a dove

So many random thoughts involving wings this evening...

When Sr. Mary Gabriel takes a pick to the ice in the birdbath and then adds hot water, why do the birds risk taking a bath? I understand why they and the squirrels are pleased to have water to drink, and they have been splashing around and having a marvelous time, but it is so cold out! It looks for all the world like one of those hot tubs at a ski resort, so I can imagine the appeal, but they can't go inside to dry off afterward.  Anyone understand avian biology enough to enlighten me? 

"Oh, that I had wings like a dove. I would fly away and be at rest."  This seemed an appropriate verse quite a number of times in the past couple of weeks.  Thanks be to God, tomorrow is our sabbath rest day, and I plan to enjoy it!

And speaking of flying away, I am wondering if the two sisters scheduled to fly out of Haiti to Boston on Tuesday are actually going to make it back that day.  I've done a news search, and as far as I can tell, all flights are still grounded.  Actually, I'm still wondering if they have been able to return home from their conference out of town or if the roads are still blocked.  Please pray for Haiti, all of you, as well as for their safe travel.  May the Holy Spirit be like that dove of peace there.

Finally, the girls putting on our church Epiphany pageant have decided to make wings for the angels.  Can anyone tell me how one might go about making them?  I did find the following directions, but they are on the complicated side and not quite like an angel's as usually depicted:  Mommy Blessings: Fairy Wings Tutorial. Some creative adjustment, perhaps?  Since we (the parish) had a break-in this week and had all our copper water pipes stolen, we are definitely not in any place to be spending much (if any) on these, so I am hoping someone out there will have suggestions for me.  Please, if you have any idea, no matter how crazy, leave me a comment!

Friday, December 10, 2010

still stranded at the conference site

I posted last night the news that the sisters in Haiti were doing ok, having heard the news through another sister who had reached them by telephone.  They were stuck out of town, having gone to a post-earthquake conference for clergy and lay leaders in Montrouis, the former site of the Episcopal seminary (I have no idea what they are normally using it for now, though I know the children from St. Vincent's School for the Disabled were there for a while immediately after the quake). The Presiding Bishop was supposed to come down to visit the diocese yesterday as well, but the bishop of Haiti asked her not to come, given the current instability.  Please pray for the leaders still at the now-extended conference, that they might use this extra time, given that they have it, as well as for the diocese and for Haiti as a whole.

If you'd like to read more about this, the Episcopal News Service has a good article on it at the link below.  It includes information about both the diocesan and the political situation.

Episcopal Church called to prayer for Haiti: Diocesan lay leaders stranded at conference site by post-election violence

I've also heard recently from Sr. Kethia that they have been told to add chlorine even to treated water. Sure hope they have enough supplies in Montrouis for all those people. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Haitian Art Calendar 2011

Mallory Holding has put together the Haitian Art Calendar 2011 to benefit the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti's rebuilding effort.

You may purchase it at lulu.com:


Mallory was in Port-au-Prince as a member of the Young Adults Service Corps when the earthquake hit, and you can see her love in all she has done since then for Haiti and for her friends there.  If you are interested in knowing more about her journey over the past year and a half, you can follow her blog, Holding Haiti, located at http://holdinghaiti.blogspot.com/.

update for those concerned

Sr. Promise was kind enough to email this evening to let us know that she'd gotten in touch with the sisters in Haiti.  They have been caught out of town and have to stay there because the roads are blocked, but they are fine.  They hope to get home to Port-au-Prince soon.

It's just so sad.  Every time I think it can't get worse, it does.  Makes me want to weep.

Please pray for Haiti.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

build us back

I share this music video with you as a prayer for Haiti. 

I found it over on a Haiti blog I've been following: http://thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com/2010/09/build-us-back.html
As a matter of fact, there are a few things from that blog I would like to share with you at some point; meanwhile, take a look yourself. 

And pray.  Continue to pray for Haiti.  Continue to talk. Don't forget, and don't let your friends forget, either.   For so many people, this is old news.  It's over.  Life has moved on.  Well, if we in the US have not finished rebuilding after 9/11 or Katrina, I'm not sure how it is we think Haiti should have picked up and moved on after far more extensive losses when life was already difficult.   So pray.  Listen to the music and pray, or pray in whatever way you find to do so.  Just don't let it go.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Petits Chanteurs on tour

The Petits Chanteurs and a chamber ensemble from Haiti, children from Holy Trinity Music School, are on tour right now: thirty days, forty concerts. Sounds exhausting. These are children with a purpose, however. I hope they'll be very successful raising money to rebuild the school, and I'll try to find and post their tour schedule.

Holy Trinity Music School is part of the larger Episcopal diocesan complex that housed the cathedral, our convent, and Holy Trinity preschool, primary and middle school, trade school, and music school. Our Sisters have worked there since 1927, and I believe Sr. Anne Marie started the music school. I can't tell you how many photos of her I saw on various Haitian music school Facebook pages following the earthquake.  I know Sr. Carolyn directed the Petits Chanteurs for a couple of years before joining the community.

I've been meaning to obtain some of the photos the Sisters brought with them when they came from Port-au-Prince to Boston for our community's annual Chapter last month. There were quite a number of Holy Trinity (the whole complex, or what little is left of it, anyway - they have constructed plywood pavilions, and worship and learning go one). I will post some when I have a bit more time. Meanwhile, I commend to you this short article and ask your prayers for these children and their adult companions as they travel.

Petits Chanteurs on tour in the US from Holy Trinity Music School, Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

sartorial and theological challenge

Words fail me...

PacMan stole - oh my...

Yet I have to wonder
--whether or not Ms. Pacman is eligible for ordination, or only Pacman himself 
--if I should be reflecting theologically on the maze of life, the path of life, on Jesus as the Way through Pacman's Maze
--whether the textile artist that created this prayed through its creation and, if so, what that prayer was like
--if I should be admitting that I actually remember playing Pacman in a video arcade, though I couldn't remember the game itself to save my life.

So, dear friends, a challenge:
If you were going to design a stole with a game as the theme (video, board, or other)*, what would you choose and why?  Chutes and Ladders, perhaps (with angels ascending and descending)?
Extra points for titles and theological reflection.

*No need to explain why you would ever want to do such a thing - although since I can't really imagine why the stole above was created, perhaps there should be points for that, too!

Found at http://badvestments.blogspot.com/2010/08/back-to-future.html via Facebook.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sicut servus desidera

As the deer longs for the water-brooks,

     so longs my soul for you, O God.

          - Psalm 42:1

                        (Palestrina: Sicut cervus desidera)

Sharing some end-of-the-evening peace with you. Blessings to all.

wrapped in God's presence

"God is wholly in every place, included in no place; not bound with cords except those of love; not divided into parts, not changeable into several shapes; filling heaven and earth with His present power, and with His never absent nature: so St. Augustine expresses this article. So that we may imagine God to be as the air and the sea, and we all enclosed in His circle, wrapped up in the lap of His infinite nature; or as infants in the wombs of their pregnant mothers: and we can no more be removed from the presence of God than from our own being."

--Jeremy Taylor, classical Anglican theologian, preacher, and pastor. Holy Living (1650).

From Jeremy Taylor: Selected Works. Edited by Thomas K, Carroll. The Classics of Western Spirituality. New York: Paulist Press,1990.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Hail, Holy Queen

In honor of the Feast of St. Mary the Virgin.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

ERD at work in Haiti

It sounds as though Episcopal Relief and Development is doing some of its best work in direct help for individuals by providing employment.  I heard that idea even before the earthquake; how much more now must such a thing be essential! 

I'm glad to hear that some of this is work being done to clear the rubble.  I heard an estimate recently about the number of years it would take to get it all taken away if there were a thousand trucks working... and while I can't remember the number of years, the fact that there are no where near that number of trucks available, much less money to pay them, tells you that this is no short-term project.  And it is impossible to rebuild when you can't even clear ground on which to put a building. 

They are also working alongside families to put up temporary housing solid enough to hold up in storms for a few years.

Here is the latest article on this from the Episcopal News Service (Mary Frances Schjonberg, August 3, 2010):
ERD supports efforts for new houses and cash-for-work programs


photo via ENS from the article above

Sunday, August 8, 2010

President’s Blog » Blog Archive » Five Families Receive Housekeys in St. Mathieu Parish

Episcopal Relief and Development's blog from Haiti has a story about the parish in Mathieu, just around the corner from Darbonne.

President’s Blog » Blog Archive » Five Families Receive Housekeys in St. Mathieu Parish

 I remember that church, new and lovely, which I visited on my way to Darbonne with the Sisters when they went to drop me off. In the photo here, you see the students from the school sitting inside the church taking their exams.

Of course, as in most every Episcopal parish there, there is a school, too.

I remember, too, being so astonished to see an Obama sticker in the school office, so far away. There was quite some excitement about that, they explained.

I'm glad to know some of it is still standing. I met the architect, and I'm sure he was proud of his work - good to know some of it lasted.

Friday, August 6, 2010


In honor of the Feast of the Transfiguration, I'd like to share a poem by Madeleine L'Engle with you.  It's from Glimpses of Grace, a book of daily readings with passages taken from a great variety of her writing: poetry to memoir to A Wrinkle in Time.  


    Suddenly they saw him the way he was,
    the way he really was all the time,
    although they had never seen it before,
    the glory which blinds the everyday eye
    and so becomes invisible. This is how
    He was, radiant, brilliant, carrying joy
    like a flaming sun in his hands.
    This is the way he was – is – from the beginning,
    and we cannot bear it. So he manned himself,
    came manifest to us; and there on the mountain
    they saw him, really saw him, saw his light.
    We all know that if we really see him we die.
    But isn’t that what is required of us
    Then, perhaps, we will see each other, too.

I wish I could paint this poem. A different sort of icon: Jesus "carrying joy / like a flaming sun in his hands."

And then, somehow, to paint the hope of learning, all of us, really to see each other. A prayer for today, indeed.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

St. Margaret's Day/Have you understood all this?

We have had a wonderful day here at the convent celebrating our patronal festival.  Around 115 of us enjoyed worshipping together and listening to a funny and thought-provoking sermon from the Rev. Barbara Cawthorne Crafton (of Geranium Farm E-Mo fame).  The gospel for the day is Matthew 13:44-52.  She focused her comments around a couple of lines that have always struck me: "‘Have you understood all this?’ They answered, ‘Yes.’"   And then she looked at us... "Yes?"  Ri-i-i-i-i-ght... sure they/you/we/I do!  

Perhaps I should not be so amused - but as she said, you never quite know what you are saying yes to at first! Think of marriage vows.  How can you really know what it will be like? You can't.  Nor with the religious life. Nor with anything else like that. 

She also pointed out that you can't make happiness. It's a by-product.  Like joy.  Joy, she said, is a by-product of meaning.  I have heard it said that joy is an infallible sign of the presence of God.  This fits, of course.  She talked about real sacrifice and real martyrdom as being possible only when you really do love life.  God calls you to a place where there is the deepest meaning in what you are doing.  And that is why the martyrs could sing.

Thinking, too, of Frederick Buechner here - that this place/activity/being to which God is calling you, that place of joy, is otherwise known as vocation. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

interview with Sister Promise

Trinity Wall Street sent a group to Haiti. They've interviewed them and posted the video and photos on their website.

Perspectives on Haiti: Sister Promise Atelon

Hard to see the photos, but Sr. Promise did a good job with the interview, I must say.  Not that this is a surprise!  I look forward to seeing her later this week when she comes to Boston for St. Margaret's Day, so I will just have to tell her this myself.  Being able to do so will be a blessing.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

born into devastation - newborns in post-earthquake Haiti

I just saw this video (below), an 11 minute spot from a French news channel that someone posted on YouTube. It just breaks my heart.  Everyone I know is still living in a tent.  The Sisters at least have a nice one in someone's side yard; others are not so lucky.  Actually, it's the lucky ones who have the real tents. 

Now imagine you are a mother who has just given birth.  Your husband died in the quake. You have no income to buy food.  And for some reason, you can't nurse. 

Or you are a mother with a baby in a shelter with no door.  Do you dare leave at night to find a place to go to the bathroom?  And what do you do with the baby if you are alone?  How do you carry water?

So much one could say...

Haiti: Le Cauchemar des Nouveaux-Nes (The Newborns' Nightmare)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Lawrence students to debut Haiti film

This video is about Lawrence University students who are making a documentary about music in Haiti. Focusing on Holy Trinity Music School, they began shooting in December. Then there was the earthquake, and their focus changed. They shot more footage in March. It may be some time before the film comes out, but it is certainly on my "must watch" list.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

the bells of Holy Trinity will play again

Bells from the destroyed Cathedrale Ste Trinite
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Photo by Lauren Stanley

saying good-bye to the old

I hear Holy Trinity Cathedral has been taken down now.  I can't picture it gone... In my mind's eye, it still stands.  I have seen photos of the rubble.  I've even seen photos of what is left (pretty much nothing), but those just seem unreal.   I did find the following photo of the mural that was left standing following the earthquake, which I'm sharing here.  It is via the Episcopal News Service. 

Jeanne Pocius, a trumpeter who teaches at the music school, posted a photo of the demolition, which she gave permission to share.  Here it is.  I can't wrap my mind around it, though.  I can't even tell from what angle it is taken, as I can't remember the surrounding buildings clearly enough without the landmarks of the larger ones to which I actually paid attention.  It might be the school rather than the cathedral.  It just makes me so sad. 

What I still don't know is whether our convent has also been taken down now.  I've heard that the little side building, a couple of rooms, is still standing, so that a few things were saved and put in there, but whether or not they have finished demolishing the convent I don't know.  My very unofficial understanding is that it is likely that it will be rebuilt on the same spot.  I wonder what it will look like when I get there, probably over a year from now as things now stand.  I've heard that they are still doing laundry in tubs in the yard in the same spot - maybe the laundry "tree" is still standing on which to dry things?   Some things continue, the little things in life that provide those micro-moments of continuity.  I'm hoping to have some photos soon via someone who has gone down for a few week.  Waiting, waiting... and wondering. 

One thing I do know is that our God is one who brings life out of death.  That is a promise.  And it is happening in Haiti even now.  Our job is to participate in that work. 

Monday, March 29, 2010

making a living creatively

I've just watched a very good video and thought I'd share it:

The Economy of a Tent City - Frontline

Definitely a different angle from most.  Both impressive and sad.

I understand that Frontline will be doing a special on Haiti tomorrow night, Tuesday.  Those of you who see this in time may want to tune in, though it sounds as though it won't be easy to watch and possibly not appropriate for small children. Here is the link to a review of that:

NYTimes Television Review - ‘The Quake’ - Despair Continues after Natural Disaster in Haiti

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Holy Week and Easter at St. Margaret's, April 1-4, 2010

Maundy Thursday  
6:00 PM Agape Meal
7:30 PM Liturgy of the Lord's Supper with footwashing
Followed by a vigil at the altar of repose until midnight

Good Friday
5:00 PM Good Friday Liturgy

Holy Saturday
12:00 Noon Holy Saturday Liturgy

Easter Sunday
4:30 AM The Great Vigil of Easter
followed by breakfast

Please call or email the Reservation Desk at the Boston Convent for the most current information on any of these events and to register.
(617) 445-8961 x127

Sunday, March 21, 2010

the remains of the cathedral

This is what is left of the interior of the cathedral, taken from the left front doors, looking toward what was the high altar.  Looks like they've done some real work on clearing the rubble. 

The convent is on the other side of that large tree. Wish I could see it...

Photo by Jeanne Pocius, used by permission.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

a conversation about Haiti at the convent - Saturday, May 1, 2010

With thanks to Mark Edington, who made a flyer like this for my visit with his students at Wellesley and then helped us adapt it for this event.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

prayers for travel mercies and ministry

Well, we sent Sr. Kethia, our youngest Haitian Sister, off to Port-au-Prince this morning.  The two of us got up pre-dawn and zipped over to Logan Airport through the lights that were still on night-blinking status rather than regular red-yellow-green.  Part of me wanted a few red lights between us and Logan; the other part of me wanted to offload a few items so I could crawl into her suitcase and go as well.  No, she wasn't scared, she told me, just excited.  She has a lot of energy, and I'm sure the wait up here has been very difficult for her. If my own inner first reaction was to want to find a plane to get down there immediately, what must hers have been?  I'm sure she's tougher than I am, too, which will help in the days ahead.  Even after a summer in Haiti, I'm still all too fond of hot showers and hot coffee in the morning.  Not to mention easily accessible potable water...

And yet, for all that, for all I know how hard it will be once I finally get there, and for all I do think I need more training before I go, I'm still feeling antsy to get there.  It will probably be well over a year at this point: once I graduate, I still need training in my first year of ordination.  And as Sr. Kethia pointed out to me, right now they are still in subsistence mode.  She kindly didn't say what she could have about how useful she can be in ways I cannot, but pointed out that there will be more opportunities later on.

I know this. We all know this.  

Well - some don't. 

But as Bishop Duracin pointed out, right now the need is for those with specialized skills.  Mine are not the ones they need just yet.  The time will come.  ("The time will come," the walrus said, "to talk of many things: of shoes and ships and Sisters' packs, relief supplies and rains."  OK, so maybe Louis Carroll was better at the rhyming thing...)

So we arrived at Logan in good time, all too short a journey, and more so for the conversation on the way.  Following much running around looking for change for the luggage cart, as the machine didn't take fives after all, we had a quick goodbye hug, and off she went...and then returned, laughing, with her down coat, before I'd even gotten into the car.  No, I don't suppose she'll be needing that in Port-au-Prince.

I suppose I've written all of the above simply as a means of saying that my heart has climbed into one of Sr. Kethia's bags and is on an American Airlines flight to Miami and on to Port-au-Prince.  It's in the bag with the flashlight, batteries, and journal I gave her - and the purple Peeps.  It's not a Purple Heart for her, but it's as close as she'll get for now.  May God bless her with safe travel and a good welcome when she gets there, and may God bless all the Sisters, Pere Samuel, and so many others as they work to rebuild their home.

Purple Peeps for Sr. Kethia

rebuilding, but oh so slowly

Sunday, March 7, 2010

letter from Bishop Duracin, Diocese of Haiti

March 5, 2010

86, Rue Rigaud Pétion-Ville, Haïti
Boite Postale 1309

MGR JEAN ZACHE DURACIN                                 BUREAU DIOCESAIN
Evêque d’Haïti                                                               Pétion-ville

‘The earthquake has not destroyed our hope in the future’

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

Seven weeks after we were hit by the 7.0 earthquake on the Richter scale, the situation is still very serious in Haiti.

As you know, many people were killed, perhaps as many as 300,000. Thousands and thousands of others have been injured. In the Church, we have lost many people. Millions of Haitians have no place to live; many are sleeping in the streets in tents, and some of them still have not found any shelter at all. All the infrastructure of the country, as well as all the key institutions of the Diocese, have been destroyed, especially in the capital of Port au Prince. The situation is very difficult.

Many of our famous churches are gone, especially Holy Trinity Cathedral, which was not only a place of worship, but a place of culture. The Cathedral was a very important institution for the whole country. Yes, it has been physically destroyed, but our faith is still here and our communities are still alive. The earthquake has not destroyed our hope in the future. Despite the difficulties we face, many of our parishes have grown larger since the earthquake, because more and more people trust our Church and are turning to us for help spiritually, socially and morally.

We are still a strong Church and we will continue to work with you in partnership to be able to build up the Kingdom of God on earth through evangelism, education, health care and our development programs. We will work together to preach a holistic Gospel so that human beings may become more fully human in the face of God.

We will have to rebuild all of our communities. We in the Diocese are working very hard to have a Master Plan to replace the physical structures of the Church, so that we may continue to serve Haitian people with the same love, the same care, and the same support that we have always shown. Our mission will not change. We pray that God will continue to give us strength to do all this work despite so many difficulties. We ask you to please be patient and wait for our guidance as we put together this plan so that we can determine how our resources can be used most effectively. Once we have made our decisions, we will announce the plan. To assist us in using all of our resources in the best possible way, and to provide the best accounting of donations, I ask all of our partners in traditional programs to resume sending donations through the Partnership Program. The fastest and safest way to do this is by wiring the money into the Partnership Program account; the Rev. Kesner Ajax, Partnership Program Coordinator, can provide that information to any who require it.

I am grateful for all of the support and assistance of The Church Center and especially of the Presiding Bishop and Primate, The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori. Her visit to us in February, even though it was short, gave us great strength here in Haiti, and I am deeply thankful for our time together. We appreciate very much the willingness of The Church Center to continue to work with us in the Master Plan to rebuild the Diocese.

In addition, I give thanks for the visit of The Rt. Rev. Pierre Whalon, Bishop Suffragan of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe, who is visiting right now on the Presiding Bishop’s behalf. I also give thanks to all of the bishops and dioceses of The Episcopal Church for their prayers and support, and for telling our story. Some of them have been directly involved in supporting me and my wife, Edithe, during our difficult time; all of our family is especially thankful for this.

Special thanks must be given to Episcopal Relief and Development; all of us are grateful for its assistance and work in providing us food, shelter, water, medicines and all other forms of support to help us survive these difficult times.

In addition, it was very good to receive The Most Rev. Thabo Cecil Makgoba, Primate of Cape Town, and The Rt. Rev. Laish Boyd, Bishop of Nassau and The Bahamas, who are visiting at this moment. I also give thanks to all other bishops and archbishops of the Anglican Communion who have expressed their support to us.

The earthquake of Jan. 12 was our baptism; now is our new creation. In this new creation, we pray to all work together, and we ask that you give us the time we need, first to care for our people, then to rebuild the Kingdom.

In this Lenten season, the season of repentance, conversion and intense prayers, we ask you to remember our Diocese and all the people of Haiti in this difficult moment. We also ask you to continue to support us by your prayers and your gifts, so that by Eastertide, we will be able to sing together with great joy, “Alleluia! He is Risen!”

I bid you my blessings for this holy season.


Mgr. Jean Zaché Duracin
Evêque d'Haïti

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

happy dance

In the midst of ashes and earthquakes, I'd like to share my good news: I passed all my GOE's (ordination exams).  And there was much rejoicing!  Maybe I really will be getting ordained in June.  Next step, get that autobiography updated, bring the materials in to the diocese tomorrow when I meet with the canon to the ordinary, and pray that the Diocesan Standing Committee approves us all!

economics tied to politics: Haiti's history with France

Well, well, after over 200 years, the French president has finally shown up in Haiti.   I have to say that this truly astounds me.  Does anyone know how long it took before the US and UK officials started visiting back and forth?  I'm glad to hear it has happened, though.  And better, much  more impressive news:  France has forgiven Haiti's debt!  That's what I call putting your money where your mouth is.  Anyone else out there??? 

But as the article points out, it's not entirely without reason, sheer grace, so to speak. It traces Haiti's history, beginning with the 1804 Revolution through which Haiti won its independence from France, and including the story of the astronomical sum they had Haiti pay them - "pay them back," that is, including the price of the slaves! Did the US have to do that for England?  The article explains:

"In 1825, crippled by the U.S.-led international embargo that was enforced by French warships, Haiti agreed to pay France 150 million francs in compensation for the lost ''property'' -- including slaves -- of French plantation owners.

By comparison, France sold the United States its immensely larger Louisiana Territory in 1803 for just 60 million francs. The amount for Haiti was later lowered to 90 million gold francs.

Haiti did not finish paying the debilitating debt -- which was swollen by massive interest payments to French and American banks -- until 1947.

But Haiti's wealth already was destroyed. It had been the world's richest colony, providing half the globe's sugar and other exports including coffee, cotton, hardwood and indigo that exceeded the value of everything produced in the United States in 1788.
By the early 1780s, half of Haiti's forests were gone, leading to the devastating erosion and extreme poverty that bedevils the country today."

The article says, "With an eye on that old grievance, France has already said it was canceling all of Haiti's 56 million euro (US$77 million) debt to Paris. The aid package also will include reconstruction money, emergency aid and $40 million in support for the Haitian government's budget."  

If you are not familiar with Haiti's history or the story of the relationship between these two countries, I'd suggest this article, as it covers a lot of ground.  You can read the full story about President Sarkozy's visit and the background to it here:  French President Sarkozy Arrives in Haiti - NYTimes

The photo here is of the Neg Mawon, a famous statue of a revolutionary blowing on a conch shell to signal others.   I found it here: http://students.depaul.edu/~jallonce/History.html

a small warning about scammers using the Bishop's name....

HAITI: Scammers continue to solicit donations fraudulently

By Mary Frances Schjonberg, February 12, 2010
[Episcopal News Service] For the second time in the month since a magnitude-7 earthquake decimated parts of Haiti on Jan. 12, evidence has surfaced of fraudulent emails soliciting money in the name of Episcopal Diocese of Haiti Bishop Jean Zaché Duracin.

The Rev. Lauren Stanley, an Episcopal Church-appointed missionary to Haiti and Duracin's liaison in the U.S., told ENS Feb. 12 that she learned of the latest scam from the Rev. Chris Dobson, ecumenical and global partnership officer for the Church of England's Diocese of Bristol. He reported receiving an e-mail that he suspected was not from Duracin because it listed a slightly different e-mail address than the one Dobson understood to be correct....

As most people who use e-mail know, fraudulent solicitations for money abound. Also on Feb. 12, the Rev. Pedaculi Birakengana, provincial secretary of the Province of the Anglican Church of Burundi, and Rosemary Cottingham of the provincial communications office warned of e-mail purporting to be from Diocese of Buye Bishop Sixbert Macumi and Diocese of Muyinga Bishop Eraste Bigirimana.

The e-mails have errors in the addresses and text, the provincial officials said, and claim to be arranging care for Macumi's supposedly sick wife. They request between $2,800 and $3,950 to cover medical fees in Burundi or Uganda.
-- The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is national correspondent for the Episcopal News Service and Episcopal News Monthly editor.

The full article may be read here:  http://www.episcopalchurch.org/81803_119415_ENG_HTM.htm

Pwoje Espwa in Les Cayes, Haiti

Just read an entry from the Pwoje Espwa website that I've followed on and off.  Fr. Marc does not find the NGO's very helpful... Sad.  They come along to make sure he is doing everything they think he should to take care of all those children, but can they offer a dime to help him take care of them?

Here is the Rev. Lauren Stanley's blog post about the organization Pwoje Espwa:
Pwoje Espwa - Hope in haiti

And here is the blurb about Pwoje Espwa from the top of their blog:

"This is one way of keeping up with what's happening in southern Haiti. Please consider helping us in our work with Haitian orphans and vulnerable children. Contributions can be sent to: Theo's Work 25422 Trabuco Road Suite 105-362 Lake Forest, CA 92630 Or Theo's Work, 2303 W. Market Street, Greensboro, NC 27403-1517 Or you can make a secure donation with a credit card at our website www.freethekids.org. Thank you for helping us fight poverty in Haiti, one child at a time."

Saturday, February 13, 2010

marking a month with music

Sr. Anne Marie would understand: when she started the music program at Holy Trinity, it was because she knew it fed the soul.  Subsistence is essential, but we are whole persons.  Music is healing.

Here is a wonderful article about the interfaith service marking one month.  There are also stories from a teacher and trumpeter at Holy Trinity Music School and her students about the earthquake and its aftermath.

Jeanne Pocius looking over some of the instruments recovered from Holy Trinity Music School in Port-au-Prince

[Episcopal News Service] Amidst the ruins of their diocese and their nation, Haitian Episcopalians have found on-going hope in their music and art.

"Some things are too difficult to express in words," said Jeanne Pocius, a trumpet professor at the Diocese of Haiti's now-destroyed Holy Trinity Music School in Port-au-Prince, paraphrasing Victor Hugo. "You see people being absolutely stoic and when the music begins, the tears begin to flow. It's healing, it's a great medication. It's a gift of the Holy Spirit."

You can read the rest of the article here:

Haiti marks one-month anniversary of quake: Music, art offer hope to survivors
The article includes a link to audio excerpts as well.

Friday, February 12, 2010


Take, Lord, and receive
all my liberty,
my memory,
my understanding,
and my entire will --
all that I have and call my own.
You have given it
all to me.
To you, Lord,
I return it.
Everything is yours;
do with it
what you will.
Give me only your love
and your grace.
That is enough
for me.

--Ignatius of Loyola

Wikipedia, source of all unsubstantiated information, tells me that suscipe means "receive" and that Ignatius, in the composition of his prayer, was going back to an earlier tradition of monastic profession: self-offering to God in a form to which I, too, have been called.  It is, however, a prayer for all of us.
Another translation words it, "All that I am and all that I possess You have given me." Not only all I have, but all I am. Not only my stuff, not only my time and my energy, but my whole being, past, present, and future.

While looking for the words of the prayer, I found this video, which I've listened to over and over. I believe I am going to make this self-offering a primary focus of prayer this Lent, using this music in my meditation. I'd like to share it with you, too. The visuals are quite poor, so close your eyes and listen, and pray with the music if you feel so called.
"Take, Lord, Receive" by Paul Melley, Performed by St Ignatius College Prep Carpe Music Ministry, November 21, 2007

All I have and all I am is yours, Lord. Give me only your love and your grace. You are enough, more than enough. You are my abundant life.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori visits Haiti

"You have already had your Good Friday," says the Presiding Bishop to Bishop Duracin (ENS article).

The article linked above tells not only about the visit, but also gives the latest news.

Bishop J. Zache Duracin and Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori in front of the rubble of Holy Trinity Cathedral in Port-au-Prince
(photo from the Episcopal News Service article linked above)

Monday, February 8, 2010

new web page and letter from the Diocese of Haiti


The Episcopal Diocese of Haiti has a new page up with a letter from its Special Crisis Commission.  It includes information and photos following the earthquake.  The photo of the professional school in Darbonne, in the entry below, is from that site, as is the photo I am uploading here of Sr. Marie Margaret at the tent city constructed on the College St Pierre soccer field. 

before and after - trade school in Darbonne

This is the professional/trade/vo-tech secondary school next door to the Rectory where I lived.  The building also held the school offices and the offices of the goat project connected with Global Health Action (mentioned in early entries).  It had a computer lab, a home ec department, and other classrooms.  I hope we can get it up and running again.  I am hoping to go speak with the Friends of Darbonne next month when they have their fundraiser.

(photo taken during my stay, summer 2009)

(photo from the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti website - link in entry above)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

post-earthquake video from Darbonne

I found on YouTube this post-earthquake  video from Darbonne, which includes footage from the church there and the tents that, as I expected, have been set up on the grounds.  You can also see one of the schools.  John Engle, the man narrating, has had ties to Darbonne since the 1980's and apparently attended the parish while there.  I thought I saw someone I knew a couple of times, but she kept turning her head just a bit too quickly for me to see for certain.  I hope it was; I'd love to know she's safe.

update 2/9- I have decided that it is, in fact, Mme Dorvilas from my parish committee! Yea!  Makes me feel so much better to have found one more person.  I also found out another person, Roselaine, is alive, but another, Brigitte, has died.  May she rest in peace and rise in glory.

article on Ian Douglas discussing his ties to Haiti

The Road Home: State's new Episcopal leader brings worldly perspective (video)- The New Haven Register - Serving New Haven, Connecticut

Ian Douglas is the bishop-elect of Connecticut and was until recently one of my professors.  In the 1980's, he lived in Darbonne, Leogane, Haiti, in the same rectory in which I lived last summer, and it was through his time there that he found his vocation to ordained ministry.  The article and video include discussion of those continuing ties.

Posted using ShareThis

(photo is from the newspaper article linked above)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Darbonne photos, part 2 - before the earthquake

In my blog entry of a few days ago, I posted photos of the school and church following the earthquake, but for the life of me, I couldn't get these two "before" photos to load.  Today, no problem. Go figure. 

I really do want you all to see what it looked like before the earthquake.  Haiti is so much more than a pile of rubble.  With all the negative commentary out there about Haiti, it seems to me that people need to know that Haiti is a beautiful country, worth caring for and rebuilding. 

I am happy to report that Willy, who is in the picture of the primary school here, and Alissa, who is in the church photo below, the little girl in blue, are both alive and well, though the buildings are not.  If you haven't seen the "after" photos, scroll down two entries.

Agape Flights - information for those wishing to donate material goods

Click on http://www.agapeflights.com/  to reach Agape Flights.
They post a DAILY list of the most needed items. The Sisters have used Agape Flights for many years. Their website says, "YES, Agape Flights is flying often and able to land in Port au Prince. Agape Flights' planes are being met by the missionaries we serve. The supplies are reaching the medical clinics, orphanages, schools, and churches through the 130 missionary families we regularly serve in PAP. Mike Labady, Agape's Emergency Field Director is on the ground in Port au Prince working to coordinate activities."

"We have a critical need for tents that can be used for shelter as well as back packs or duffel bags for the homeless in Haiti to have something to carry whatever belonging they might have with them. We are accepting back packs and duffel bags with supplies for those in Haiti. Back packs are for either a single female or a single male and the duffel bags are for families. Please be sure to label the bags accordingly for easier delivery and distribution!! All bags need canned/pouch meat, a blanket, a sheet, a towel, peanut butter, crackers/cookies, plate, fork, cup, 8 foot plastic rope, toothpaste, deodorant, small scissors, wipes, shampoo and bar soap in a baggie. If you are packing a bag for a female, please add some sanitary products or for a male, please add a razor. Family duffel bags just need double the amount of supplies."


100 Airport Avenue
Venice, FL 34285-3901

Saturday, January 30, 2010

pictures from Darbonne after the earthquake

I hope to edit this post later on with "before" pictures, but at the moment they won't upload.  The turquoise building is the grade school; the white one is the parish church.

ADDITIONAL NOTE 2/2:  I have posted the "before" photos two entries above this one.

BBC on what it will take to rebuild

This is a great article, offering details of needs in the areas of food, water, health, shelter, rebuilding, infrastructure, security, economy, funding, agriculture, and government. 

BBC News: The Challenge of Rebuilding Haiti

Friday, January 29, 2010

benefit concert

"A global concert to benefit Partners in Health's Stand with Haiti

In keeping with its mission to Heal the Community through Music, Boston-based Longwood Symphony Orchestra and New England Conservatory present Symphonic Relief for Haiti at NEC’s Jordan Hall, Sunday, January 31, 2010, 12:30–2 p.m. Artistic Director Jonathan McPhee will conduct LSO, an orchestra whose membership is comprised mainly of health care professionals representing nearly every medical institution in the city. Featured artists will include NEC faculty Paula Robison and Richard Stoltzman, NEC student Jean Bernard Cerin and Project STEP/Preparatory student Aurélie Théramène, A Far Cry chamber orchestra, and the Boston Children's Chorus. Student musicians from NEC, Longy School of Music, Boston Conservatory, and Boston University will augment the instrumental ensembles."

Read more at the link below.

Longwood Symphony benefit concert, Sunday, January 31

Scituate schools pitch in for Haiti - Scituate - Your Town - Boston.com

Scituate schools pitch in for Haiti - Scituate - Your Town - Boston.com

Posted using ShareThis

Thursday, January 28, 2010

united in solidarity

United in Solidarity - Trinity Wall Street Slide Show on SSM in Haiti  - link to an interview with Sr. Carolyn, Sr. Adele Marie, and Sr. Promise with a background of slides.  And they used some of my photos, too!

Here is a photo of the Sisters on the soccer field by the College St Pierre, where their "doorbell ministry" has turned into a "tent ministry."

This photo is by Jois Goursse Celestin, an Episcopal seminarian in Haiti, taken with Mallory Holding's camera and shared by request of Bishop Duracin.  I believe it is from the day after the earthquake before there were so many people there (3000, last I heard).

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Episcopal Diocese of Haiti caring for 23,000 in camps


This is the latest on the Sisters, who are still living on the soccer field by College St Pierre two weeks after the earthquake.  At least we know they are alive... I got an email today from someone who still has not heard from her family members, who lived even closer to the epicenter.  Heartbreaking.

The article talks about the camps.  How do you feed 23,000 people?  Can you imagine the amount of water that is needed?  Never mind the sanitation issues.  They estimate it will be months of emergency care.  Rebuilding is way down the pike.  I hope our attention span is longer than usual.

They also say that all the churches in the Leogane area were destroyed.  That's the area in which Darbonne is located.  I'd pretty much figured that would be the case, but I had heard that the church in Mathieu had not been. Perhaps one of the major aftershocks took it out, or perhaps the information was wrong to begin with.

I'm going to to post a happy picture from my time there to remind us all of the beauty of this area.  I want everyone to remember that Haiti is a beautiful country, not only a pile of rubble.  That's all we ever see in the news: disaster.   There is so much more to Haiti than that.  We must not forget the disaster, but we can't limit our vision to it, or we'll forget why people love it so much and why it is so very worth every ounce of energy put into it. 

(taken on the road from Port-au-Prince to Leogane out the car window, summer 2009, probably somewhere around Gressier)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

what's left of Holy Trinity Cathedral...

photo via the Episcopal News Service

how you can help in Haiti via Partners in Health

Partners in Health on Volunteering and Donating Supplies

a litany for Haiti

via Episcopal Life (http://www.episcopalchurch.org/79901_118787_ENG_HTM.htm)
Bulletin inserts for Feb. 7 contain 'A Litany for Haiti'

January 25, 2010

[Episcopal News Service] The world’s gaze is on Haiti as its people continue to work towards recovery from the Jan. 12 earthquake that crippled much of the nation’s infrastructure and killed and injured tens of thousands of its people. The Episcopal Church, through the Diocese of Haiti and Episcopal Relief & Development, is committed to immediate relief and long-term reconstruction, and asks the prayers and support of all Episcopalians for its mission there. Episcopal News Service Weekly bulletin inserts for Feb. 7 include a litany and prayers for Haiti created for a Jan. 17 service at Washington National Cathedral.

(full bulletin inserts may be found here: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/95270_ENG_HTM.htm)
A Litany for Haiti
The world’s gaze is on Haiti as its people continue to work towards recovery from the Jan. 12 earthquake that crippled much of the nation’s infrastructure and killed and injured tens of thousands of its people. The Episcopal Church, through the Diocese of Haiti and Episcopal Relief & Development, is committed to immediate relief and long-term reconstruction, and asks the prayers and support of all Episcopalians for its mission there.

God of infinite mercy, who calls forth order out of chaos, peace out of turmoil, calm out of fear, we come before you aching and tender, crying out for Haiti and her people, saying, We lift our prayers to you, O God: You are the hope of all Creation.

We pray for Haiti, land of mountains and sea, where the very earth has shifted. May her tremors cease. May her tumult end. We pray for her people, shattered yet courageous, frightened yet bold, destitute and longing for relief. May their voice be heard. May their need be met. We lift our prayers to you, O God.

You are the hope of all Creation.

We pray for the injured, broken and lost: thirsting for clean water, hungry for food, stripped of shelter, desperate for medical care; they look to the world for hope. May their dry mouths find drink, their empty bellies find food, their families find cover, and their bodies find health. We lift our prayers to you, O God.

You are the hope of all Creation.

We pray for rescuers, those who do the work of recovery, laboring in the midst of agony; for healers, doctors, nurses, and all who tend those wounded in body, mind, or spirit. May their hands be steady. may their resolve be sure. May their work be filled with grace. We lift our prayers to you, O God.

You are the hope of all Creation.

We pray for the dying and those who have died, whose frail bodies now line the city streets. May mercy be abundant. May death have dignity. May they never be forgotten. We lift our prayers to you, O God.

You are the hope of all Creation.

We pray for the global community, grieving and responding in love. May our action be swift. May our purpose be certain. May our devotion endure. We lift our prayers to you, O God.

You are the hope of all Creation.

We pray for the days to come, the future, and the promise of what lies ahead. May new roads be paved; new industry be born; new fortunes rise; and new friendships sustained. We lift our prayers to you, O God.

You are the hope of all Creation.
- - - - -
God of compassion, now let us answer your call and respond to our sister Haiti through steadfast commitment, diligence in prayer, charity in action, and constancy in hope. Her needs are deep and ours is a land of plenty. With open hand and open heart may our prayers be known in the eager generosity of our giving. In your holy name we pray. Amen.

Abiding God, your light is ever present with us, piercing through the darkness of tragedy. We give you thanks for the bright beacon of hope found when your people join together for the welfare of all. And now, when all seems dark, illuminate for the world your vision of hope, dignity, and life abundant set forth for Haiti from the beginning of creation. In your light all shall be revealed and all shall be made whole. Amen.

Litany by Wendy Tobias, Carol Wade and Alexandra Zepeda, from Strength Through Unity: A Service of Prayer for Haiti on Jan. 17 at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. For a video of the service and the homily by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, visit http://www.nationalcathedral.org/.

For continuing reports from Episcopal News Service on the church’s work in Haiti, visit www.episcopalchurch.org/ens. Donations to Episcopal Relief & Development may be made online at www.er-d.org/donate-select.php; by calling the agency at 1-800-334-7626, ext.5129; or by mailing a gift to Episcopal Relief & Development, PO Box 7058, Merrifield, VA 22116-7058. Please write “Haiti fund” in the memo line of all checks.