FWAL Children Visit St. Damien Pediatric Hospital

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On February 15th while celebrating our Sunday mass with the children of Father Wasson’s Angels of Light and the teenagers of the Don Bosco program, we had some very special guests. With the help of volunteers, the children who reside in the hospital, having been abandoned because of their ailments, honored us with their presence. It was a true blessing to be able to see all the children of our programs blend together and participate in worshiping and honoring God as brothers and sisters in Christ.

The Gospel reading told the story of Jesus Healing the Leper. The passage narrates Jesus’ compassionate actions as he meets and heals this leper who is considered practically dead by the law. The law forces this leper to live away from others, isolating him and preventing him from communicating with the world. The leper was not able to touch anyone, and when he walked the streets he would have to shout unclean to insure others did not even accidentally touch him. His sickness meant he could not even enter the temple, therefor even God was considered inaccessible to him!

Jesus knowing these barriers created by the law decides to turn the whole system upside-down. Jesus, full of compassion, enters into the world of the Leper. He feels the Leper’s pain, his isolation, loneliness, and suffering. Jesus reaches out and touches the leper. He breaks the law, he risks the threat of infection, and contaminates himself if not physically, definitely spiritually. His act of touching the Leper meant under the current law that Jesus was ritually impure, and should be excluded from participating in worship. This exclusion is the price Jesus pays to save the excluded from deadly loneliness.

Charity is not unblemished, it requires the one giving to get their hands dirty, to contaminate themselves. In this story the person who should no longer be touched is touched by Jesus and this contact communicates not just the underlying message of Christ but also the way in which He loves. Jesus is present in the world and can feel and interact with us as humans even though he is also fully divine. The direct consequence of touching the leper is coincidentally isolation (cf. Mark 1:45), after the healing Jesus is forced to live in the desert outside the town. This similarly reflects how Jesus will have to be separated and suffer with his Passion and death in order to heal and save. Jesus takes upon himself the suffering of others and endures their pain thus truly fulfilling the role of the Suffering Servant, taking on our diseases, infirmities, sin, and the consequences of them.

Inspired by this Gospel Passage and touched by the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, after mass all in attendance visited the sick and infirmed in the NPH St. Damien Pediatric Hospital. There was praying and singing as these children entered into the suffering of others and touched them in order to have Christ’s love be shown through them. It was truly awesome!

Contributed by Fr. Enzo Del Brocco

Special Needs Children Find a New Home

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Recently NPH Haiti’s family got a little bit bigger. In line with our mission to nurture orphaned and vulnerable children in a loving, stable, and secure family environment, the Father Wasson’s Angels of Light (FWAL) program opened it’s doors to receive a group of eleven children with disabilities. These children came under the care of NPH through the St. Damien Pediatric Hospital. Through events leading up to their admittance, or while being treated, all of these children were abandoned by their families or caregivers. Many of these children have histories of seizures, malnutrition, and other neurological disorders.

The children moved into the St. Anne home of FWAL on March 8, 2015. Father Enzo del Brocco celebrated mass with the entire St. Anne and St. Louis home present. Father Enzo blessed and prayed over the children. Many guests from Italy, Spain, Germany and United States, along with the administration staff from FWAL and some Don Bosco students were in attendance to participate in this wonderful ceremony. FWAL Director, Kenson Kaas, said that these children will always have a home at FWAL and that it is their hope and prayer to one day construct a specialized home for them, that will act as a long-term care facility for children with special needs.

Not only do these children have a new home, but they now can attend school at the NPH St. Germaine program, which is a school and rehab for children with special needs, right down the street.

A warm thank you to everyone who helped to make this possible.

Contributed by Denso Gay
Communication Officer, NPH Haiti

FWAL Loves Visitors!

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At FWAL, we are very lucky to have people from around the world come visit us. Some are coming to Haiti just to see us, and some are coming to work at St. Damien Pediatric Hospital or at St. Luke, but take time from their day to come visit and play. Sometimes it’s big groups and sometimes just one person, but it’s always fun to meet new people.

Recently, we’ve been very fortunate to have a number of fun, creative, passionate and playful people stop by.

Our Italian office, the Francesca Rava Foundation, has sent lots of visitors through their camp programs, who took us to the beach and bring us toys and sport equipment. We always have a lot of fun with the big groups that come because they have great ideas for games and art projects!!

This fall a few women with the METI group from Boston Massachusetts, visited on their day off to play a few rounds of soccer, fell in love with FWAL and ending up spending all their spare time for the rest of the trip with us. They even started working on sponsorship paperwork before their trip was over!

Recently, a doctor working at St. Damien for a few weeks, came over to teach the older girls how to make decorative hair flowers. She brought fabric that matches our school uniform and taught the oldest girls how to make the hair clips. The class was such a success she left plenty of supplies for the girls to teach the younger girls at St. Louis.

And while it’s always great to meet new people, some of the best visitors are the ones we already know. This year a few former volunteers come back to see us. It’s so nice to catch up whether it’s been years or just months. Big thanks to Sr. Kathleen, Dani and Avriel for making time to visit FWAL.

These are just some of the wonderful visitors we’d had at FWAL. We are so grateful to the people who generously bring toys and activities, but more importantly guests are the best when they are able to share themselves, their time, have a chat, teach a song or play a game.

Thank you to all visitors we’ve had, we hope to see you again soon!

Much Love,

FWAL

Celebrating Five Years of FWAL

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On Friday, January 16th we celebrated the 5th Anniversary of FWAL.  We held a beautiful program to honor the opportunities for education, healthcare and stability that have been accomplished in the past five years.

It’s hard to discuss how FWAL started without mentioning the terrible earthquake that occurred 4 days prior on January 12th, 2010. The 7.0M earthquake killed 230,000 and injured another 300,000. It also left 1.5 million people homeless, without a sense of security or source of income.

From an idea, to tents, to containers, to stable structure; we’ve seen a lot of change in the past five years and the program has a lot to be proud of. FWAL provided daily escape from the tent cities for over 2,000 children for 10 months, house 140 children and educate nearly 900, FWAL is a moving force focused on the children who are our light for the future.

 

It’s a lot to celebrate.

 

Father Enzo held a beautiful mass, with an offering of gifts followed by songs, dances and touching speeches performed for the entire school from the littlest students up to the ninth grade.

Students performed a very inspiring skit about the future of Haiti.  A small child draped in the Haitian flag tumbled in and fell to floor to represent the struggle of the country.  Several cried that the flag would never recover, but another explained no, we need to educate our children and the next generation will help bring Haiti up as they become doctors, lawyers, farmers, engineers, teachers, and priests.  And as he says this, the kids all come in dressed as such.

Time was taken to address all those who have worked so hard to make this program successful, especially those during the first few years when FWAL was still assessing the needs of the children.

After the program there was a delicious meal with beet salad, rice and a special treat of beef. Then we did we do best at FWAL – soccer games and dance parties. A few matches were held with the older students while the music played and crowded cheered on and danced. It was the perfect way to end a great day.

It was a beautiful day to acknowledge the hard work of those that help build the program and celebrate hope for the future of both the children in our care and Haiti as a country.

2014 Recap

HA_Kenson

FWAL Director Kenson Kaas

Dear Friends,

The year 2014 was a very good year for us at Father Wasson’s Angels of Light. We’ve seen many changes in our program since we started five years ago. We’ve watched the children grow from babies to children to young adults; we’ve been able to expand our school program for community children; and we now have a more stable facility for our children to live and learn and our staff to work. When the program started in January 2010, our children were living in tents. In July the same year, we move from tents to shipping containers and in the end of 2013, we started the construction of the houses that we have now. We have in our program 140 children who live with us and another 721 coming to our school every day. In total, 861 children benefit from the program.

Originally, our program only planned to have 800 students, including both internal students living with us and external students from the neighborhood. At 851 students, we are currently over extended. While we know that is an additional financial burden, it is hard to turn away children in need of an education. Each year, we also find the program growing through the addition of another grade. This year we now provide schooling from kindergarten through 9th grade.

I was a member of the team that helped start the program after the earthquake in 2010. Most of us, myself included, started without any background in leadership and management. Through time and with the help of many other NPH leaders, I started to develop my leadership confidence. Every year that passed by; I learned more, I became better and more focused on the mission of helping these kids to have the best life that they can.

I am so grateful to devote myself to helping these children receive the life that they deserve: healthcare, education, spiritual formation, and the most important, a community and family. I am also honored to invest my time and all that I am in this wonderful program, to make sure that these kids are successful like I was when I was young.

Everything that we are able to accomplish here is possible because the world has good people with good hearts. There are people who know that many in the world do not have the same opportunities as them. These people believed that they could do something to change the lives of our children. Through their donations, friendship and support they have helped us create FWAL and we are grateful to them.

Thank you to everyone who has supported us through the years. We are very proud of what we have created and it is due to the support of our friends across the world.

Thank you from on behalf of our children and staff,

Kenson Kaas
Director, FWAL 

Join Us in Prayer Today

Today marks the fifth anniversary of the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that devastated the nation of Haiti. We are deeply grateful to everyone who supported our work in Haiti by sponsoring children, making donations, attending and sponsoring events, visiting our home, volunteering, and giving products and services. With your help, we were able to launch or expand many services after the earthquake.
Please join us in prayer today for our NPH Haiti family, for those that have lost family members, and for the country.
“This is the meaning of the day, solidarity among people of good will worldwide…and determination by the human race to keep going today –embodied by the Haitian people,” Fr. Rick Frechette.
Below is a video highlighting what NPH Haiti has accomplished during the past 5 years. It’s 3 minutes that you surely can’t miss.