On May 24, 2017, Fathers Frank Conkle, S.T., and Jaime Serrano, S.T., arrived in Haiti which marked the birth of our newest mission. Establishing a presence in Haiti has been much anticipated by the Missionary Servants for many years. It was likely not a question of “will we go?” rather, more a matter of when and in what capacity.
No one can deny that Haiti and its people are in great need. Earthquakes, disease and corruption have plagued this small country for years. Determining how the Missionary Servants could best meet the varied needs was critical to planning. It took much hard work, perseverance and prayer to finalize the plans which resulted in an entirely new approach to establishing new missions for the future.
In the past, our priests and Brothers go where they are needed but usually at the invitation of the local Bishop. This time is different — no invitation extended, no established mission for our men to take over. We are starting from zero! Fathers Frank and Jaime will be working in collaboration with the Vincentian Family at the Vincentian Family Haiti Initiative (VFHI) in La Hoye.
In Haiti, of course, the first order of business for Frs. Frank and Jaime is to study Creole. Besides getting acclimated to a new country, new culture and new food – communication skills will prove to be a necessity as both eventually will arrive to work at the Initiative’s programs as well as minister in the local parish – all located in the country’s Central Plateau. At least three weeks of classes are planned before moving on from Port-au-Prince to Savane Perdue. The language will provide its share of challenges, but both Fathers Frank and Jaime look forward to being able to interact with the locals, get to know the area and offer any help that is needed.
They will spend quite a bit of time looking, listening and learning upon their arrival to Savane Perdue. They look to balance their ministries between the VFHI and the local parish, helping to fulfill a goal of VFHI’s national coordinator, Regine Theodat, to grow even more the relationship between the Initiative and the surrounding community.
Expanding our reach into new lands and among the neediest of God’s children, is made possible through the loyal support of our many friends and benefactors. Thank you. Expect to hear news from Haiti in the coming weeks and months.