By STEPHEN O'KANE, Staff Writer | Published August 5, 2010
Nearly six months after an earthquake ravished the capital of Haiti, mainstream news coverage on the progress of relief efforts dwindles. But the recovery and rebuilding efforts go on in Port-au-Prince, with Catholic Relief Services offering several ways to get involved and beginning a new program to work more closely with local parishes.
The CRS Southeast Regional Office has invited some 10 Georgia parishes with a twin Haitian parish to gather to exchange ideas and so CRS can learn more about their ongoing efforts to build and sustain schools, churches, wells, water purification projects, medical and dental clinics, and micro-financing in many communities in Haiti.
Scheduled for August 19 at the Cathedral of Christ the King, Atlanta, the luncheon will also discuss ways CRS and parishes active in Haiti can work together.
“We are beginning a new partnership to work directly with parishes,” said Simone Blanchard, program officer with the CRS Atlanta-based office. “We want ideas about how we can work together. … These parishes do it on their own.”
The event will feature a presentation that updates attendees on the current efforts of CRS in Haiti as well as an “open dialogue” as CRS staff members are interested in learning about ways the local parishes are helping their brothers and sisters in Haiti.
“What these parishes do is very impressive,” said Blanchard. “It will really be more of a listening session.”
Parishes include Our Lady of Lourdes, Sacred Heart, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Lawrence, St. Pius X, Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, St. Monica, St. George and St. Brendan.
Blanchard also said there are various ways local Catholics can get involved with CRS relief efforts or draw support from CRS materials. In addition to providing information on how to set up a relationship with a Catholic parish in Haiti, CRS also offers resources for local communities that include guided prayer sessions, lesson plans on Haitian relief, parish bulletin announcements and posters.
For more information on CRS and Haiti relief efforts, visit http://hopeforhaiti.crs.org.