June 2022-- Volume II, Issue 5, Florida+

Supporting the Work of Mission Circle

Welcome to the 17th Edition

Happy Summer! "This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad!"

This newsletter is taking us back to Haiti. We all know Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and seems to be hit by one natural disaster after another. It is also plagued with gang crime and disease due to the poverty. But there is another side to Haiti that includes its physical beauty, beautiful people, and extraordinary faith. At the request of Diane Saffran, for this issue I will tell the story of our second trip to Haiti as I shared at a meeting in 2018.


We did it! Mission Circle Inc is now a 501(c)3 nonprofit! Thanks to Cas Crownover for her hard work and skill. What does nonprofit status mean for you--our friends and supporters? Two things. We will soon open an account for Mission Circle Inc to receive tax deductible donations. And we will not be able to request donations from anyone who doesn't live in Florida, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Vermont, or Wyoming--but we can receive them. So this newsletter including information about how to send checks in addition to the articles about our mission countries is for those living in one of these seven states. If you don't live in a listed state, please let us know our error and we will put you on the other contact list in order to comply with all the restrictions for nonprofits.

If you want to honor someone's memory or give a special gift to loved ones, remember our year-round Alternative Giving (Click the green words to access a form, then send your check(s) for preferred missions as described below, print the form and send it to your loved one).

Thank you to those who have responded to the needs of the children in Haiti and the people of Honduras and Cuba! So far in 2022 we have received 43 donations to support St. John Paul II Mission in Haiti, 18 for St. John Bosco in Cuba, and for Our Lady of the Rosary Parish in Honduras. With your support, we can continue to aid our brothers and sisters. If you want to help, this is how (changes are coming when we establish a bank account but everything is the same for now):

To donate to the Haiti mission and continue to sponsor your child or children: write a check to Partners with Haiti, write Mission Circle on the memo line and mail to Mission Circle c/o Gini Eckert, 280 Raymore Ave., DeLand, FL 32720. We are still requesting $150 per child, per year, or $15 per month, but will gratefully accept any amount. We are being aided in this effort by Partners with Haiti, a ministry of St. Paul Catholic Church in St. Petersburg which is a 501(c)3.

To donate to the Honduras mission: write a check to St. Ambrose Catholic Church, with Mission Circle on the memo line and mail to St. Ambrose Catholic Church, 380 S. Federal Highway, Deerfield Beach, FL 33441, Attention Mission Circle. You may also designate Women's Microcredit Project, water filters, or most needed on memo line. St. Ambrose has formed a sister parish relationship with Our Lady of the Rosary. St. Ambrose Mission Circle is a ministry St. Ambrose CC and donations are tax deductible. For questions about the Honduras mission, please contact Donna Kinney, 954-290-7952.

To donate to the Cuba mission: contact Diane Saffran at dsaffran@bellsouth.net to make arrangements.

Focus on Honduras

A Visit to Haiti in 2018

by Gini Eckert

A flight from Fort Lauderdale to Port au Prince is 2 hours and 4 minutes, but it drops you into a culture as different as possible from ours. In 2018, I made my second trip to Haiti with Fr. Tom Connery, Robert Moll, and Mae Thomson. We arrived in the swirling chaos of the airport and struggled to get ourselves and our personal belongings as well as the suitcases full of items for the children out to the car awaiting us. There were dozens of men trying to earn a living by carrying those things and getting past them was a challenge.

Finally, we found our car and driver and set off through the colorful and noisy tangle of traffic for Matthew 25 House. This haven is about 20 minutes from the airport, but the trip can take hours depending in the current traffic. Parish Twinning Program of the Americas, the group through which we have twinned with a parish in Honduras and Cuba as well as St. John Paul II Mission in Haiti, started their work in Haiti and have rented this house for over 20 years to provide support for US parishes visiting their twinned groups. The house is managed by Haitian employees of PTPA and a US intern. While not luxurious, it can sleep 36 people in relative comfort, with 24-hour security, breakfast and authentic Haitian dinners. Unfortunately, Matthew 25 House is temporarily closed due to unsafe conditions.

Fr Ilric Fr Tom Robert.jpg

Fr. Ilric, Fr. Tom, and Robert Moll meeting at Matthew 25 House.

The staff at Matthew 25 House gather around the dining table.

From Urban Port au Prince to Rural Haiti

by Gini Eckert

Fr. Ilric borrowed a car and drove to Matthew 25 House to take us and our donated items to Lascahobas in the mountains of central Haiti. The distance is less than 50 miles, but the trip could take several days during the rainy season before the new road was constructed a few years ago. Now it takes 1-4 hours depending on traffic. We took Route 3 northeast through beautiful mountains and a colonial town of Mirebalais where we turned southeast on Route 301 and finally turned onto a dirt path leading back to Our Lady of Perpetual Help School, the main school for St. John Paul II Mission and the only one near a road.

We spent a few hours visiting the children, playing soccer with the balls Robert had obtained, making some crafts, and touring the school. Fr. Ilric has a home with 4 bedrooms for the 25 orphans in his care plus his tiny room. Mae and I were given a room used by the older girls with a single bed and a bunk bed. It had a bathroom. Fr. Tom and Robert were assigned another room. The rooms for the little children held 5 beds each and additional mattresses were stored under the beds during the day.

Some of the girls show off their room in Lascahobas.

Robert Moll plays soccer with the kids.

"The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" and More

by Gini Eckert

We shared a delicious chicken dinner with Fr. Ilric. I did remember seeing the main course flapping under the table in the storeroom during our tour. The tiny orphan children who had been clinging to Fr. Ilric since we arrived, came in and sat on his lap and received tasty bits from his plate. After dinner the older children came and set up Mass in the room where we had eaten. The "sacristan' was about 12, but she knew her job and effectively directed others until we had an altar and rows of chairs for the congregants, the children .

Fr. Ilric returned when all was ready and celebrated Mass. The children were readers for the scripture. The little ones fell asleep on Father.

We all settled down to sleep after that, but a dog had been tied up outside my window and he barked relentlessly, making sleep impossible. There was also a hard rain during most of the night. There was a sudden gushing sound of water which I thought was an outside drain. Mae realized it was in our shower where the faucet had blown off with a sudden gush and was pounding into the tub. She fixed it once, only to have the faucet again fly off. I encountered a palmetto bug flying past which landed in my bed!

Finally it was 5 am and time to head back to Port au Prince before the the morning traffic. As we left, we saw many people hustling to work in any way they could. Life is complicated in Haiti.

Young sacristan competently sets up Mass.

Fr. Ilric celebrates Mass with close participation from the children.

Fr. Ilric holds a tired little one at Mass.

Mission Updates


Padre Alex's Uncle Javier was able to visit his mother (Padre's grandmother) to celebrate Mother's Day and her 90th birthday! Here is Padre Alex, his grandmother, and Padre José Luis.

Javier took medical supplies requested by Padre for Mission Circle.

Padre Alex has been very sick again. Please keep him close in prayer.


Our Lady of the Rosary has been continuing their project to feed the 106 elderly, disabled, and single mothers on the 4th of each month. They call the program Pound of Love. Donors from their parish contribute 6,000 Lempira (about $250) and the parish supplies the balance, about $416, each month. Our food donations in the past have helped with this effort also.

In addition, they are continuing to repair badly deteriorated chapels in the villages of the parish, some of the 86 that Padre Gustavo serves.


Padre Ilric sent pictures from Our Lady of Fatima in Morne Pierre. This is one of the remote mountain schools in his mission. They celebrated the feast day for Our Lady of Fatima. He also said the children are receiving food from Mary's Meals which was the subject of last month's book recommendation--The Shed That Fed 2 Million Children.

Tracy has sent 6 large boxes of donated clothes and supplies to Father since April. She also prints the pictures he sends and sends those back to him.

Click here to check out all the new photos from Cuba, Haiti, and Honduras Missions: MISSION CIRCLE'S FACEBOOK PAGE

To Read and View

Fault Lines: Views Across Haiti's Divide by Beverly Bell

Recommended by Haitian immigrant and author Myriam J.A. Chancy

Fault Lines takes the reader to Haiti in 2010 after a 7.0 earthquake killed over 1/4 million people. Beverly Bell writes "a searing account of the first year after the earthquake," according to Amazon's synopsis. The synopsis continues, "Fault Lines offers rich perspectives rarely seen outside Haiti. Readers accompany the author through displaced persons camps, shantytowns, and rural villages, where they get a view that defies the stereotype of Haiti as a lost nation of victims."

Bell also discusses issues of aid provided by outside organizations and compares the crisis in Haiti with that of Katrina in her hometown of New Orleans.

This book is available in many formats, and it can be purchased new or used from booksellers.

Chancy also recommends the documentary Fatal Assistance as a companion to Fault Lines. I don't think the movie is currently available, but this trailer gives an idea of the subject.

Here is a link for a trailer for a related film, Fatal Assistance:


I also listened to a podcast this month timed for the anniversary of the revolution of Haiti from France on June 3, 1791 and highly recommend it:


In this space we recommend books and films that we have found that "take" us to Honduras, Haiti, or Cuba vicariously, or in this case, inspire us for mission work. We would love to hear from you about these suggestions and your recommendations.

Please continue to pray for the clergy and people of St. John Bosco parish in Las Tunas, Cuba; Our Lady of the Rosary parish in Sabanagrande, FM, Honduras; and St. John Paul II Mission, with four locations in Central Haiti. They are praying for us.

Also, please share our newsletter with your friends and family, and tell us what you like and what you would like to see in future issues!

May God bless you abundantly.
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