Students, friars help earthquake victims

Rebecca Doel In the Headlines

NEW YORK — As the people of Haiti tackle the long process of rebuilding, Province ministries search for ways to support relief efforts. In parishes and schools, people are praying and contributing time and talent to those affected by last month’s earthquake.

At Churches
St. Patrick-St. Anthony Parish in Hartford, Conn., will host an event Feb. 5 with refreshments and entertainment to benefit the Haitian Ministries of the Diocese of Hartford. The cost of the event, $25 per person, is being covered by parishioner Joe Howard. The Hartford church has strong ties to Haiti because of its sister parish of five years, St. Genevieve in Zoranje, Haiti. History of the twinning is available on the Web site St. Patrick-St. Anthony.

Friars at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston began an appeal for assistance shortly after hearing news of the Jan. 12 earthquake. An announcement, prepared by guardian David Convertino, OFM, was read at each Mass on the weekends of Jan. 17 and 24. “In addition to monetary requests, special prayerful remembrances are included every day,” said John Maganzini, OFM. As of Jan. 27, more than $40,000 had been collected between friars and parishioners of the shrine.

“The response was overwhelming and more is anticipated,” said David.

The appeal money will be donated to assist St. Genevieve Parish.

St. Francis of Assisi Church on West 31st Street in New York City held a prayer service led by Fr. Joseph Cavoto, SA, a staff member of the parish’s Counseling Center on Jan. 26. On the church’s Facebook page, Fr. Joseph wrote: “Thank you for your prayers and your presence this evening. It was a huge success. May we continue to stand in solidarity with Haiti in the days and weeks and months to come.”

On Campuses
At St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, N.Y., students and area firefighters teamed up on Jan. 29 to raise money from community members. The nearly $6,000 collected is going to Haitian relief efforts, including Food for the Poor, Hands on Direct Relief, and the Carroll County Haiti Mission Project, according to a university news release.

The Siena College community in Loudonville, N.Y., is assisting relief efforts by setting up “Saints for Haiti” tables at all men’s basketball games. A university release stated: “This is just the beginning of a campus-wide initiative.” All donations will be given to CRS. 

Adding to the fundraising efforts was a recent wine tasting night, which taught members of the community proper wine tasting etiquette while raising more than $2,000. The funds will go to Fondwa, a rural village in Haiti working to rebuild itself, according to a news release from the university.

In Florida, the campus ministry office and administrative team of Santa Fe Catholic High School, Lakeland, held a “Solidarity with Haiti” day. The event, organized by campus minister Paul Santoro, OFM, was held on Jan. 22. Students, teachers and faculty were encouraged to wear blue or red shirts, representing the colors of the Haitian flag, and donations from the school community were accepted.

Word spread to a local business owner, who offered to match all funds raised. As of Jan. 22, the school had raised $2,000. The grand total, to be given to Catholic Relief Services, will exceed $4,000, Paul said.

General Assistance
The friars of Holy Name Province continue to pray for their brother Cidouane Joseph, OFM, of Manhattan, who has several siblings in Haiti.

Friars and partners-in-ministry who are looking to assist Haitians in the United States, can obtain governmental forms and procedural information from the HNP Labor-Immigration Project.

Brian Jordan, OFM, a labor priest and immigration counselor for the Holy Name Province Labor-Immigration Project, has provided a document to the Communications Office with information on how to help eligible Haitians in the United States with temporary protected status. Friars and pastoral ministers with questions about immigration can contact Brian at

Joseph Rozansky, OFM, based at the Order’s Justice and Peace Office in Rome, has provided a letter from the Provincial Minister of the Central America province with information on where to send support. 

 Rebecca is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province.