On Friday evening, October 18, the Haiti Outreach Program will celebrate a significant milestone. This year’s annual medical banquet will be dedicated to the dozens of men, women and students who over two decades have been a part of the Haiti Outreach program. This year’s event will be unique in a number of ways. Instead of the basketball goals in the Sacred Heart school gym, the reception and dinner will be held against the backdrop of stained glass in the Parish Hall, the church’s beautiful former sanctuary.
Our guests will include Cardinal Chibly Langlois of Haiti. He was created cardinal by Pope Francis in 2014 and is among the leading voices of Catholicism in the Caribbean. Cardinal Langlois is the foremost Catholic leader to attend our banquet. His presence is an enormous honor for our Haiti outreach program.
Cardinal Langlois will be joined by two priests from our sister parish, St. Michel, in Boucan Carre. Father Michenet DuPortal, St. Michel’s pastor since 2010, has recently been transferred to another parish. In a hundred ways, large and small, Father DuPortal has been a wonderful partner whose help and advice have made a tremendous positive contribution to the success of our mission in Haiti.
His replacement is Father Michelet Lamarre, who arrived at St. Michel in August. Father Lamarre will be coming to Knoxville at an especially important time. Sporadic political unrest has made it unsafe for our mission teams to travel to Haiti for almost two years. Our continued absence, combined with the learning curve of a new priest, will be an enormous challenge to the staff at our medical clinic and to the teachers at the primary and secondary schools we support. The chance to discuss these issues with both priests will be an invaluable opportunity to make plans for the coming year together.
This year’s banquet is billed as a “homecoming” for every member who has made the trip to Haiti. Those attending will include men and women from the first trip in 1999. They will be joined by former students who traveled to Boucan Carre on spring break, some of whom went back multiple times. The event will also will acknowledge the dozens of persons--including those in our partner parish, St. Kateri in Tabb, Virginia--who have sustained the program with unselfish amounts of time, money, and emotion support.
The brief program will be a chance to reflect on the amazing progress these volunteers have made possible since that first trip twenty years ago. Much of this progress occurred because we share the belief that it is indeed possible for a dedicated partnership to make lasting changes in the most difficult of circumstances.
The banquet is open to all adults. The reception and dinner are free. We ask only that if you would like to attend please rsvp at 384-3392 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope you can join us for a truly special celebration.