Metropolitan Hilarion with Priest Gregoire and matushka Rose Legoute during his pastoral visit to Haiti, January 2015
Priest Gregoire Legoute, one of the two older priests of the Orthodox Mission in Haiti, talks to the Fund for Assistance to ROCOR about the challenges parishioners and priests face in Haiti.
FFA: Why is it important to support the mission?
Fr. Gregoire Legouté: Most of our parishioners are unemployed. Finding work is not an easy feat in Haiti, even if you have several diplomas. Life is very expensive here. You work for gourdes (Haitian National currency. 55 Haitian Gourdes =$1 U.S. – ed., August 2015), but you buy in dollars. Because of the drought, the plantations have been lost. There are political problems and insecurity, which deter investors. Having employment is very rare.
People come to the mission for help daily: some look for food or medication, some look for help paying for their children’s school. Members of the community, parishioners in need – they all think that the priest will be able to give them at least a little something.
We give them our clothes, if they ask for them, food (mostly rice and peas) that we have at the school canteen, some money, and – most importantly – hope. The mission is well-known in Haiti for its acts of charity.
FFA: What would you like the Orthodox World to know about the mission?
Fr. Gregoire Legouté: We would like everyone to know that the Orthodox Mission in Haiti is alive. That the Orthodox community in Haiti is very spiritual and God-loving.
FFA: What have been some of the positive changes that you have been able to implement thanks to FFA donors?
FGL: Thanks to your generosity, we have been able to buy three big plots of land around the country where we plan to build churches. We pay rent for our churches and schools annually.
We are constructing buildings that have allowed us to have a number of activities with the children.
And for those who have lost their husbands, their houses during the terrible earthquake of January 12, 2012, we were able to pay their rent and pay for the education of their children. The priests and deacons receive their monthly salary. Our three seminarians in Paris: Priest Augustin, Reader Martin and Reader Peter have received help to continue their studies.
We have been able to accomplish all of this thanks to the help of the Fund for Assistance. We are very thankful. These were acts of love. Thank you so much. Without this support the life of these families would have been much more difficult. You are daily in our prayers. Thank you again.
Priests, matushki and all members of the Orthodox Mission in Haiti are very grateful to the donors of the FFA. We thank all donors to the Fund for Assistance. Without this support the life of these families would have been much more difficult. Thank you for your support, you are always in our prayers. May God bless you all. Please continue to support the Orthodox Mission in Haiti!
Watch the interview here.