#113 – Dick Bernard: Being a face of hope

Written by admin on October 25th, 2009

Thursday we attended a luncheon for a group, Friends of the Orphans #mce_temp_url# .  The Town and Country Club in St. Paul was packed with persons, there to learn about helping bring hope to orphans in Haiti, Central and South America.

Our guest speaker was Fr. Rick Frechette of the Passionist Mission in Haiti.  Fr. Rick is one of those legendary folks who have walked the talk of ministry to the least among us for many years.  He has been a Catholic Priest for 30 years; most of those years he’s ministered to orphans, first in Central America; since 1987 he’s worked with and among the poor in desperately poor Haiti.

Fr. Rick Frechette, St. Paul, October 23, 2009

Fr. Rick Frechette, St. Paul, October 23, 2009

Fr. Frechette’s website is #mce_temp_url#.  At the website, he has a blog entitled Rainbows at Midnight (go to “Reflections” page; access to this blog is at the bottom of the page).  Do take a look.  There are 19 essays there; some powerful writing about the sacred among the tragic circumstances he sees every day in the slums of Port-au-Prince.

There were many lessons in the day, some for us as people with our own causes.  Without question we’ll contribute some $’s to this worthy cause…largely because we were asked to contribute.  There is power in the act of asking for something, particularly since there are endless appeals for this or that.  The face-to-face was important too.  The business of selling in the intensively competitive arena of justice is not an easy one.  Those “marketing” justice need to keep this in mind.

Also, because we were asked, we’ll do what we can to make others – people like you – aware of this fine program.

I do have a standing hope for all of the other assorted good causes I see out there: that they consciously and deliberately try to figure out ways to collaborate and work together.  In the ideal world, society would work together to alleviate the conditions that make Friends of the Orphans and similar programs essential both in the United States and in the World.

Living in an imperfect world, we need to engage and help as we can, and at the very least help those who are actively “on the court” do what they can do.  We need cooperation more than we need competition.

So, thanks, Hugh, for inviting us.  And thanks, Fr. Rick, for the inspiration of your commitment and your example.

We knew noon on October 23 would be a very worthwhile time spent.  It was more worthwhile than we had thought it would be.

As the mantra hopefully will continue to go: “together, we can!”

Postscript:  So long as we’re on Haiti, Margaret Trost of WhatIf? Foundation, the meals program at Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste’s Ste. Claire parish in Port-au-Prince, will be making several appearance in Northfield MN November 14-16, and will speak at both Sunday Masses at Minneapolis St. Joan of Arc on Sunday, Nov. 15.  Margaret has committed her life to changing the conditions of hunger in a desperately poor part of Haiti.  Her book on her program is “On that day everybody ate”.