Our Ambulance in Haiti
- Today in Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton
- Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time – Alleluia Sunday
- 23 February 2020
Father Calixte Hilaire has been a friend and a pastor to the poorest of the poor in Haiti for his entire life. He was educated in the United States and was awarded a doctorate in psychology from Seton Hall as a young priest. Unlike many other Haitians, who had escaped the poverty of that island country, Father Calixte returned to his own Archdiocese in Port-au-Prince. There he has continued to labor in the vineyard these many years as a humble shepherd among his own people.
I met Father Calixte during my first visit to Haiti when he was the pastor of our sister parish of St. Genevieve in Duval just outside the capitol. It soon became clear to me that he was a man of vision and apostolic zeal for the temporal and spiritual welfare of the Haitian people. He helped us to fund the construction of St. Francis chapel and grade school for the children. We also were able to establish a health center and dispensary for the people of Duval. The actual church building of St. Genevieve was entirely leveled in the earthquake of 2010 and many of the seven associated chapels were severely damaged. Rebuilding has been slow over the last ten years and Father Calixte has been a leader in the reconstruction efforts.
Prior to the earthquake his considerable talents were put to use by Archbishop Miot and Father was assigned to a parish in the city, where he immediately began the task of building a hospital for the poor. This was an enormous undertaking and we tried to help him as much as we could, but our primary mission in Haiti was to the people of Duval at St. Genevieve. Nevertheless, our relationship with Father Calixte was too strong to resist the call to assist him with the purchase of a 4 wheel drive ambulance for St. Joseph Hospital. It was Ginny and Sid Luckett, Seton parishioners and long-time supporters of our Haiti mission, who donated the funds that provided emergency transportation over the last seventeen years. Father called me a few weeks ago and told me that the ambulance had finally expired. He was desperate! Could we help? I told him that the people of St. Elizabeth Seton have always been a friend to the people of Haiti and to him. Generous donors have helped us to purchase diesel generators for St. Joseph Hospital and now I am asking that we contribute another ambulance for Father Calixte to care for the sick and injured. The vehicle he requires is a long-bed enclosed Toyota truck that is robust enough for the mountain terrain and suitably durable for the rough streets (such as they are) in Port-au-Prince. He has priced it for import at $48,000 and would be able to receive delivery in thirty days, so there is some urgency about the time-frame. We also must take particular care in transferring the funds to ensure that he receives them safely through the Archdiocese. I know that this is a big ask, but it really is for a good cause and for a good priest. We are blessed to have such a good cause and such a good friend. Thank you for your generous support of our brothers and sisters in Haiti.