Rhode Island Catholics donate nearly $1 Million to Haitian earthquake relief

Parishes support efforts of Catholic Relief Services

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PROVIDENCE—The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence today announced that through the generosity of parishioners, Catholic schools and others, $908,548 was raised to support Catholic Relief Services’ (CRS) relief efforts in Haiti.

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All funds collected thus far have been sent to CRS. A handful of parishes have not yet reported their results. The collections for Haiti is among the largest special second collection for the diocese, surpassing the $672,298 collected in 2004-2005 for CRS efforts after a tsunami struck Indonesia.

Shortly after the earthquake, Bishop Tobin appealed to parishes for help with supporting the efforts of Catholic Relief Services through the option of a special second collection. More than 120 parishes in the diocese responded to help provide for the people in Haiti. Some individuals sent donations directly to the diocese.

“Funds raised through Catholic parishes and schools in Rhode Island will provide critical resources for Catholic Relief Services to continue their efforts to provide housing, food and spiritual care to the people of Haiti,” said Bishop Tobin. “Rhode Island is blessed with many generous individuals who have supported this effort to help those who lost so much as a result of the earthquake. Despite these challenging times, the Catholic community has once again responded to provide for the homeless and hungry.”

The parishes raising the most funds in support of the CRS mission in Haiti as of March 9 include: St. Luke’s, Barrington, $33,050; Christ the King, Kingstown, $29,181; Saints John and Paul, Coventry, $20,410; St. Philip, Greenville, $19,334, St. Gregory the Great, Warwick, $19,279; St. Augustine, Providence, $19,033; Saints Rose and Clement, Warwick, $17,645; St. Joseph, Hope Valley, $16,364, St. Teresa, Pawtucket, $15,235; St. Clare, Westerly, $14,740; St. Jude, Lincoln, $13,787; St. Francis Xavier, East Providence, $13,500 and St. Barnabas, Portsmouth, $13,209.

“I was very pleasantly surprised by the wonderful response by our people,” said Fr. Joseph D. Creedon, pastor, Christ the King Parish, Kingston. “One of the foundational principles of Stewardship is, “the need of the giver to give.” Obviously the plight of the people in Haiti spoke to the need of people to give. Faith in action is always a powerful experience!”

“We raised $33,050 plus our CYO teams raised another $19,000 at a special brunch they had so I think that is an amazing testimony to the generosity of the people here at St. Luke’s,” said Fr. Robert F. Hawkins, pastor, St. Luke Parish, Barrington.

“The parishioners of Saint Philip’s Parish responded generously to the invitation to open their hearts and donate from their resources to help alleviate the suffering of the victims of the earthquake in Haiti,” said Auxiliary Bishop Robert C. Evans, pastor, St. Philip Parish, Greenville. “Frankly, having been pastor for three years now, I was not surprised by their generosity; it is a hallmark of this parish that whenever there is presented a genuine need to assist others, even if they are strangers, the response is outstanding.”

“As they had in the past for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, the people of St. Barnabas Community have, once again, responded to those in need resulting from the tragic earthquake in Haiti,” said Fr. Randolph Chew, pastor, St. Barnabas Parish, Portsmouth. “We are extremely grateful for the wonderful generosity of our people and we ask God to bless them for responding with compassion and concern for our Haitian brothers and sisters who are so desperately in need.”

“I put special envelopes in the pew for the Haiti Collection,” said Fr. Kenneth Suibielski, pastor, St. Clare Parish, Westerly. “When the printers realized what the envelopes were for, even they kicked in and gave us the envelopes at cost. I asked our parishioners to take the envelopes home, stick them on their refrigerators and to pray about how they were going to respond to their sisters and brothers in need in that devastated country. The people of St. Clare’s quietly came forward with $14,470. We all thanked God for that kind of generosity which we know was demonstrated throughout the diocese and the state of Rhode Island.”

“We want to thank the people of St. Teresa Church for their continued kindness to the people of Haiti,” said Fr. Joseph Paquette, pastor, St. Teresa Parish, Pawtucket. “Bless them for their always overwhelming generosity!”

According to CRS, since the earthquake struck on January 12, the humanitarian relief organization has distributed emergency shelter kits to 6,500 families, got a hospital up and running that is staffed by doctors and nurses from the University of Maryland performing 20 operations per day, set up health clinics throughout the country, established sanitation services, established food distribution systems and provided countless meals.