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Mission Statement

 

Our mission is to twin St. Margaret Mary Parish in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada with St. Gabriel's Parish in Beau Séjour, Haiti.

 

Filled with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, we offer support, growth and guidance with love and respect to our brothers and sisters in Haiti. We will do this through prayer, fellowship, education, and financial and material assistance.

 

We will also benefit from our relationship with our sister parish through the blessings that come from sharing our lives with the poor.

 

Our call is to be disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ and be a beacon of light and hope for the world.

Background

The parish of St. Gabriel was founded in 1996 by Father Jean-Pierre Phillipe. It is situated 2,000 metres atop a mountain, southwest of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Over 22,000 people live in this area and had extraordinarily little access to education, medical care, and other basic necessities.  There is no road connecting St. Gabriel’s parish to any major city. At present, Beau Sejour consists of a small rectory, the church, a schoolhouse, and a reconstructed medical building.

Since 2008, St. Margaret Mary Parish has been linked to St. Gabriel Parish in Haiti.  This all began under the inspiration of Father Jean-Pierre Phillipe (who founded St. Gabriel Parish) and Father Bill Trusz (who was Pastor at St. Margaret Mary at that time). In 2003, Father Philippe came to Canada on a Sabbatical and was stationed at St. Margaret Mary Parish in Hamilton. Sharing some of the struggles that St. Gabriel’s was encountering many were inspired to try and do something to help out.  In 2007, Father Philippe suggested a twinning of the two parishes to Father Bill Trusz.  Father Bill and Father Philippe traveled to St. Gabriel’s Parish in August 2007, to meet with Father Ronal, then Pastor of St. Gabriel’s parish. Upon return, Father Bill produced a video of his trip, which was presented to parishioners of St. Margaret Mary with a proposal to establish a formal Twinning of the two parishes and was approved by Bishop Anthony Tonnos.

Over the years, Haiti has been struck with challenges of all kinds (earthquakes, tropical storms, poverty, civil and political violence, and a worldwide pandemic…) but our Twinning mission with our sisters and brothers of St. Gabriel church in Beau Sejour has helped them meet these challenges.

The initial focus of our fundraising was intended to help with the rebuilding of St. Gabriel Church and following the devastating earthquake in 2010 for emergency disaster relief. In 2012, Fr. Gaby Noel, facing the prospect of closing the schools due to the lack of funds to pay the teachers with an impact on the catholic education of approximately 1,000 Haitian youth, gave St. Margaret a clear path forward. Upon prayerful reflection, the Twinning committee recommended a change in our mission focus, to ensure the continuation of a catholic education for the children and youth of St. Gabriel.

Most recently, we are nearing the completion of a bold 8-year financial commitment of providing $20,000.00 USD per year to support the salaries of the teachers, who have guided the formation and graduation of a number of children and youth in our Twinned parish of St. Gabriel. One such graduate, Magdalena is but one of the many signs of God’s grace and how our mission of love and support for our brothers and sisters is bearing fruit.

We recently (August 2021) received notice of a change in the Pastor assignment at St. Gabriel church and we expressed our gratitude and heartfelt thanks to Fr. Fernand who had served the community for the past 7 years. Fr. Fernand passionately promoted and supported the catholic education and formation of all children.

We have now welcomed Fr. Jude ENFIREILLE as the new pastor of St. Gabriel and have assured him of our continued support and commitment to our brothers and sisters in Haiti.

We thank all of our parishioners and the many from other parishes in our diocese who have and continue to support our mission in Haiti. Your generosity and continued support are most appreciated.

We invite you to view the various correspondence and pictures for the Haiti mission in the “Past and Present Events” section of this website.