St. Mary committee planning fourth medical mission to Haiti

The St. Mary Parish Twinning Committee is planning to embark on its fourth medical mission since 2007 to its “twin” parish, Ste. Therese parish in the town of Marbial in the remote mountainous jungle of southeast Haiti.

The sheer remoteness of Marbial distinguishes the local parish’s mission from those of many other U.S. parishes that provide support and funds through the Parish Twinning Program of the Americas. Many of those parishes are located in towns near large cities that are accessible by roads.

In the case of St. Mary, team members travel the last 15 miles with their medical gear over a dry (at that time of year) river bed. The uneven surface and boulders on the river bed turn this 15-mile drive into a 90-minute trial.

St. Mary supports Ste. Therese primarily through a clean water program, medical care and education support.

The 2013 Medical Mission took place March 2 - 9 with all 10 members paying their own airfare. During the week the medical team split with three members, led by Dr. Garvey, performing surgeries — the large majority hernias suffered by men of the parish who cultivate the ground with only a pick axe.

The team saw approximately 1,105 patients and performed 17 surgeries and three procedures. Approximately 300 schoolchildren were treated for intestinal worms and 40 were immunized for measles, mumps and polio. Health education was also provided to help strengthen the long-term well-being of the community.

About 75% of the approximately $25,000 cost for the mission is for surgical facilities and medications, the remainder is largely for translators and patient transportation.

The parish provided about 25% with the remainder coming from local benevolent groups — of particular note, the Bridgeport Rotary Club, the St. Mary Ladies Guild and the Father-Daughter Dance — as well as many individuals.

To raise funds for the 2014 Medical Mission, as well as to support education and clean water initiatives, the St. Mary Twinning Committee is planning two events in October and November.

Harvest for Haiti - October 12

at the Saint Mary School Hall

Taste selected wines and beers while enjoying appetizers and chatting with friends at the St. Mary School Hall from 6 - 10 p.m. on Saturday, October 12. Tickets are $25 each ($15 for designated drivers). The Wine and Spirits Co. is organizing the event and Larry Lansberg, The Shoreline Chef, is providing hors d’oeuvres for the evening. There will be raffles, too.

CT Comics for Haiti - November 8

at the Bijou Theater in Bridgeport

Milford’s own Mike Finoia — seen at NYC’s Gotham Comedy Club, the Cabaret at Mohegan Sun Casino, Comix at Foxwoods, and more — will headline this night of comedy. The night will also include “Connecticut’s Funniest Haitian” Gary Alexis at 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 8 in the renovated Bijou Theater, off exit 27A of the Rte. 8/25 Connector in Bridgeport. Tickets are $20.

The evening will include a raffle of a $200 gift certificate for Tranquility Mind and Body Wellness Spa in Milford.

There are a limited number of tickets for both events. Order by sending an email to with the number of tickets you’d like to purchase and an email or telephone contact.