Milford’s Saint Mary Parish welcomed two Haitian guests in July. The Rev. Phanel Chery, pastor of Ste. Therese Parish in Marbial, Haiti, and Domond “Domo” Bertrand, spent four busy days in Milford. Bertrand is the Haitian head of the Tennessee-based Parish Twinning Program of the Americas (PTPA).

The St. Mary Twinning Committee hosted the guests from the church’s “twin” parish of Ste. Therese located in the remote mountains of southeast Haiti. The two parishes have been “twinned” since 2007 and work together to develop mutually enriching relationships of sharing, solidarity and understanding. In addition to prayers for each other, the two churches share bonds that include an annual Medical Mission to Ste. Therese, a supply of birthing kits to help new mothers in the parish care for their newborns, support of the parish school and a clean water program for Ste. Therese.

It was the Rev. Chery’s first visit to Milford since he became pastor of Ste. Therese last year. It was also was his first time in the United States. Haiti, on the island of Hispaniola where the Dominican Republic is also found, is located 700 miles south of Miami in the Caribbean Sea.

The two visitors arrived on July 21 and, during their four-day stay, greeted parishioners after Masses, met with members of the St. Mary Twinning Committee and attended a reception in their honor at a private home on the Gulf Pond. Rev. Aidan Donahue, pastor, and Rev. Chacko Kumplam as well as members of the Twinning Committee and rectory staff also shared meals and fellowship with the two Haitians.

During a half-day meeting, the visitors and Twinning Committee members discussed current status and next steps for key areas of focus, including water, education and the medical mission. Topics included:  

A continued focus on educating parishioners in Ste. Therese on proper handling of water and use of water systems;

Consideration of support for the secondary education program in Ste. Therese to prepare more students to pass the national exam, a requirement for pursuing a university degree;

Ongoing planning for the next medical mission, scheduled for late October, which will replace a mission planned for last February that was postponed due to election violence in Haiti.   

The St. Mary Twinning Committee got special help during the recent visit from Jeffrey’s Restaurant, catering; Curtis Avery, handmade chocolates, and Lou Petti, pianist – all of Milford.

Those who wish to support the St. Mary Twinning Committee’s efforts may give securely online by visiting "http://www.saintmarychurchmilford.org/" \t "_blank" www.saintmarychurchmilford.org and clicking on "Online Giving" at the top of every page or by writing a check to St. Mary Parish with “Haiti ” in the memo line and mailing it St. Mary, 70 Gulf St., Milford , CT 06460-4811.