The Mission Hub

The Pontifical Mission Societies include the Society for the
Propagation of the Faith, the Missionary Childhood Association, the Society of St.Peter Apostle, and the Missionary Union of Priests and Religious. These Societies promote a prayerfulmissionary spirit among baptized Catholics and to gather a fund of support for the evangelizing and pastoral programs of more than 1,150 local churches of the Developing World.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Heart for Haiti, Part Two

When I left for my first mission trip, I heard people refer to it as an “immersion” experience. I didn’t realize how accurate that word was until I landed at the single runway airport in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and was driven directly into Cite Soleil, the largest slum in the Western Hemisphere. I was thrown into the mix of natural beauty and abject poverty of the island country; the palm trees and the tropical heat surrounded garbage filled streets that were shared by stray animals, children playing and women selling mud pancakes as a “dietary supplement”. They were literally eating dirt mixed with a little oil and salt to fill their bellies.

The Missionaries of Charity Sister’s Nutrition Center was an oasis of calm – a welcome relief for someone in culture shock! Although I gave a piece of myself to many of the children that I met there, one stands out because at first, I tried to avoid him.

He had TB and was malnourished; his skin was flaking off leaving pieces of himself on whoever held him. There were open sores around his mouth and eyes; something had taken a bite out of his right ear. I busied myself with other children trying to avoid the sad sight. But God kept calling me back. “Be my missionary,” I heard Him say. “Show this child who I am.”

Finally, I reached out my hands. He immediately lifted his arms to be picked up unlike many of the other children who were so lethargic. He wrapped his arms around my neck, snuggled into me and fell asleep. His heartbeat and deep breathing were a relaxing rhythm and I swayed back and forth, as any mother would.

I came to realize this baby symbolized all of Cite Soleil to me. On the outside, he looked ugly, even gruesome. I wanted to look away. But as I released my fears to God, I found that on the inside was all the sweetness and love that one would expect to find in one of His creations.

So it is with Haiti. By looking past the existing poverty and newly wrought devastation, we find our brothers and sisters in need of someone to show them who God really is: love.

To learn more about how to have a Heart for Haiti and donate to the Pontifical Mission Societies long-term Haitian Solidarity Fund for the recovery of the Church after the intial relief effort, go to .

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