Jan 13, 2010

Quake in Haiti Leaves Midwest Mission Trip Grounded

In St Louis, plans for a mission trip to Haiti get derailed:

The phone was ringing off the hook at Holy Redeemer Parish in Webster Groves Jan. 13 after a massive earthquake hit Haiti, where members of the parish have worked for years to foster better living conditions for the people.

The parish supports St. Jean du Sud in southern Haiti, about 170 miles from the capital, Port-au-Prince, where the damage from the quake was centered. One Holy Redeemer parishioner who has been there since mid-December was unharmed. She is teaching English to a group of young adults who volunteer with the Webster Groves’ parish medical mission.

Holy Redeemer parishioners have spent weeks preparing for a mission trip to Haiti, mostly in packing donated medical supplies. A small group was set to go Feb. 6 to help bring water to the rectory and a medical team of about 20 was set to leave Feb. 13. Those plans are on hold until it is determined if flights will be arriving in Haiti and other questions are answered.

Parishioner Harry Bahr said the packing of supplies will continue. A decision will have to made on how to help the people of Port-au-Prince, he said. Members on the mission trips usually stay at a guest house in Port-au-Prince. Bahr received an e-mail message from the woman religious who staffs it who noted that it was damaged. But in an undamaged area with a medical supply room and battery backup three doctors set up a triage center.

A Haitian family he knows also are OK, Bahr said. But he said he can understand how extensive the damage can be. “Port-au-Prince is like a stack of cards. Once those houses start going, there’s nothing to hold them.”

St. Louisan Dee Leahy of Mary Queen of Peace Parish in Webster Groves was in Port-au-Prince during the quake. Her son, Mike Leahy, said family members had not heard from her, but a CNN reporter called him to inform him that she is unharmed. Dee Leahy is working with the Missionaries of Charity there and is planning to extend her stay, her son said.

Read more here and God bless this parish for their dedication.

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