Sun Prairie parish welcomes guests from Haiti Print
Around the Diocese
Written by Kevin Wondrash, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015 -- 12:00 AM
Fr. Edouard Jerome and his translator, Domond Bertony, describe life in Haiti to parish families at St. Albert the Great Church in Sun Prairie. (Catholic Herald photo/Kevin Wondrash)

SUN PRAIRIE -- Answering the call of Pope Francis to be in solidarity with our brothers and sisters around the world, St. Albert the Great Parish recently welcomed some special guests.

The parish has been paired with Precious Blood of Jesus Parish in Potino, Haiti, as its sister parish.

In March, four members of St. Albert visited the Caribbean country to meet Precious Blood’s pastor, Fr. Edouard Jerome; his translator Domond Bertony; and other parish members.

There they got a look at the life and conditions for the parish members in the small village.

In Potino, there is no electricity, running water, Internet, or phone.

Residents have to walk a great distance to the market for food and supplies.

The church has been the most prominent place in the village for the past 50 years.

Returning the favor

St. Albert returned the favor of hospitality and hosted Father Edouard and Domond at the parish for six days. The Haitian guests got a chance to see what life is like for their sister parish in the U.S.

Father Edouard concelebrated all Masses on Sunday and was also the keynote speaker of two events held to help St. Albert parishioners encounter Haitian life through words, stories, and pictures.

“It is such an exciting week here,” said Julie Wiedmeyer, parish administrator, who went on the trip to Haiti this year.

As she welcomed those to the encounter event called Global Family, she said, “St. Albert’s has always been a community where outreach has been a priority. It’s with this in our hearts that we’ve reached out to form a relationship with Father Edouard and Precious Blood of Jesus Church in Potino, Haiti, as our sister parish.”

“This trip connected our hearts with the people of Potino -- two distinct and separate communities are now closer than ever, understanding that we have so much in common,” she added.

Learning about Haiti

The event featured encounter stations for families to visit.

One included a short talk by Father Edouard, with help from his translator.

He spoke about his parish and village, noting the isolation people there feel -- “the government forgets Potino -- it’s there by itself,” he said.

The children paid close attention as he talked about the school there -- five grade levels all under one roof.

Sometimes the children come to school without having eaten, and Father Edouard said the school is working on a way to make sure food can be provided for them.

Families got a closer look at these conditions at the other encounter stations set up at the parish.

One of them was set up like a classroom, with pictures and information about school in Haiti.

Other rooms gave children and their families a chance to learn about Haitian culture, with an opportunity to write messages to the people of Potino.

Families could also learn about challenges the Haitian people face, such as its water crisis.

Samples of Haitian food, a rice and bean dish, were also available to snack on.

The evening concluded with prayer for Father Edouard, Domond, and the people of the parish in Potino, as everyone gathered close together around the guests.

For more on St. Albert the Great’s relationship with Precious Blood of Jesus Parish in Potino, Haiti, go to