Helping Haitians Help Haitians

Men ale, men vini fè zanmi dire.
A hand going out, a hand coming back makes a friendship last.

In Port-au-Prince, Mary Ellen Gonci (far left) and Maggie Levasseur meet with Fr. Attilus Desca, whose parish in Fonds Baptiste is twinned with The Church of the Holy Family in Hebron, CT. Mary Ellen Gonci and Maggie Levasseur are parishioners of the Hebron church and have participated in medical missions to Haiti over the years. Fr. Desca's parish is in the country, in the high mountains north of the capital.

With faith and understanding, the TWINNING PROGRAM brings together two worlds in partnerships of caring, sharing and support. Since the earliest days of Outreach to Haiti in the 1980s, these partnerships have been at the heart of our mission.

Today there are 14 partnerships. Ten are between American and Haitian parishes. Another connects a girls’ high school in Connecticut with an orphanage in Port-au-Prince. A 12th unites an American parish with an orphanage. Also, an American parish is twinned with our mission house. 

The Diocese of Norwich is itself twinned with the Archdiocese of Port-au-Prince. The two signed a Twinning Covenant on December 17, 2000, when Bishop Daniel A. Hart was in the Norwich Diocese and Archbishop Serge Miot led the Port-au-Prince Archdiocese. 

In many cases, the Haitian parishes—often in rural areas outside the capital but all within the Archdiocese of Port-au-Prince—have a population of 30,000 or more. The priests in these communities are not only the religious leaders but the unofficial community authorities at large. Parishioners and others in the communities look to them for answers to their educational, medical and nutritional needs.  (After the January 2010 earthquake, refugees fleeing Port-au-Prince swelled the populations of these rural and remote areas, magnifying the desperation there. The communities turned to their priests to provide not only spiritual guidance but basic necessities.)

In all the partnerships, Outreach looks for ongoing commitments and the willingness of representatives of the American communities to visit their counterparts in Haiti. While each twinning carries the same promise of mutual support in faith and desire for cultural exchange, every union is unique The program does not require specific exchanges of funds or materials; rather each partnership determines how its connection will be fostered.

These partnerships have made profound and lasting changes in the lives of people both in Haiti and in the United States.

If your parish, school or organization would like to explore a twinning opportunity, contact us by e-mail (info@outreachtohaiti.org), or call (860.848-2237 ext. 206)

The twinning relationships are:

9 Haitian parishes & 10 American parishes

(*two parishes in U.S. are twinned with the same parish in Haiti)

             St. Mark the Evangelist in Westbrook, CT

            Watch a video!

             Watch a video!

Haitian orphanage & Connecticut parish

Haitian orphanage & Connecticut Catholic high school

Outreach Mission House & American parish

© 2014 Outreach to Haiti