Haitian Ministry

St. Mary Parish Coventry, Ct.

Our Lady of the Presentation

Les Palmes, Haiti

Two parishes in relationship

Mission Statement

The Ministry maintains a relationship with people in Les Palmes through mutual visits and constant communication. It provides financial resources for education to the community of our twin/sister parish, Our Lady of the Presentation.


Since 1999 St. Mary’s has made an effort to help the community of Les Palmes, Haiti.  There is a covenant in place and the pastor of St. Mary’s, Fr. John Antonelle had the opportunity to meet and greet Fr. Roud Sauveur, from Les Palmes in October on his first visit.  During mass on October 23, 2016 a five year Covenant was signed.

The mission is to support with prayer and visits, our parish to Les Palmes, Haiti and the pastor of Les Palmes to Coventry, Connecticut. Each year the parish priest from Les Palmes will visit and present an update on the school and share news of the community of Les Palmes as well as experience community in Coventry, CT. There have been many changes in the community of Les Palmes. There is also opportunity for the community to travel to Haiti.

God is good and has provided us with this opportunity to help the poorest of the poor in Haiti. Education for them is an answer to knowledge that will make life better. Public schools in Haiti have limited space and fees are not affordable for most people. The private schools are costly. School in Les Palmes, on the mountain, started with 17 students in the first year and is now over 500. Many families have sent their children for higher education because of Kolej Pere Bruny secondary school and some have received assistance from University for honors.

Thank you and Blessings to you all,
The Haitian Ministry Committee

Trip to Haiti and our sister parish that was scheduled for January 13-21, 2016 was canceled for two reasons.  First, there were not enough people to travel and second, Haiti was having some disturbance due to elections and need for new President.

Monthly meetings: Held at St. Mary’s Rectory 7pm first Monday of the Month unless otherwise noted and the ministry is open to visitors and new members. There are no meetings during the summer unless special activities are planned. Winter meetings depend on weather. E-mails are sent out to update. 

Donations to Haiti Shipping of barrels is done throughout the year.  Since the urgency after the earthquake the shipping has slowed but we still find a need to send supplies.

Items needed to pack in barrels for Les Palmes:
Seeds- (onion, tomato, lettuce, cabbage, squash, carrots, beans, pumpkin and cucumbers)

Tapered candles (tall and short), baptismal gowns, receiving blankets (dollar tree has fleece blankets for $1), copy paper and ink for printing papers for school.  Sewing class could use cotton material and thread of assorted colors or monetary donation so purchases may be made in Haiti.   


January - Start planning for Wine Tasting-Food Pairing/Silent Auction (Save the date April 30, 2016)

April 30 - Wine Tasting/Silent Auction – donations of gift certificates, gift cards, themed baskets and/or new items, handmade or purchased are accepted.  Contact Lou Friedrich 860-872-4189.

May/June/July - Coffee break - Rest area in Willington on Rte 84 has been reopened.  Date pending

June - Announcement for planning basket theme for Oct. Pasta Supper/Basket Raffle

September - Start plans for Pasta Dinner/Basket Raffle and Les Palmes priest annual visit

October - Pasta Dinner

For more information call Susan Gagliardi 860-742-8664 or Lucille Friedrich 860-872-4189

Avilene Derislin (sponsored student)

Enrollment is 510 students in the secondary school. There are 67 students receiving scholarship.  Rev. Roud Sauveur, pastor of Les Palmes, works with the teachers in the school to determine the students eligible for scholarship. There is a criteria that needs to be met to receive the scholarship and continue each year. At the end of the academic year students take exams.  Some grade levels take national exam as well as local school exam. The sponsored students who pass will be able to receive sponsor again. If the student does not pass then a new student is assigned to sponsor. 

Scholarship for a student is $180.00 for the year!  However any amount is appreciated! Please consider this wonderful opportunity to help a child be educated and improve life for them and their family

"A child who is not educated has no tools for the future, and is not important in the society.”
Contact: Pete Sullivan 860-871-9903 or e-mail

Check payable to: St. Mary Haitian Ministry  

Mail to: St. Mary Church
Haitian Ministry
1600 Main St
Coventry, CT 06238

A group of four members of the St Mary Haitian Ministry traveled to Haiti in March 2017. They found that the secondary school continues to successfully educate over 500 students. The sewing class continues to be active. The medical clinic is operating five days per week. A new church has been built in Les Palmes, to give the Haitian community hope. The St. Mary Haitian Ministry committee would like to thank everyone who supports them in their mission to help the people of their twinned parish and continue to build a relationship with them.

Immersion trips are still taking place and twin parishes are receiving travelers for visits and groups are experiencing Haiti staying at the temporary mission house.  Groups have the opportunity to experience as much of Haiti as possible.  Visits might include, orphanage, feeding program, clinic, museum, shopping and eating at some wonderful restaurants.  Some even get in time at the beach.

Approximately 7% of the funds for this ministry are funded through the diocese and the rest of the working funds are raised through fundraisers, donations and grants.

St. Mary’s Haitian Ministry is only one part of Outreach to Haiti.  St Mary’s ministry works to provide for sister parish of Our Lady of the Presentation, in Les Palmes, Haiti since 1999 and first covenant between the two communities was signed in 2003.  Our commitment to the parish community is a combination of prayer, relationship and financial support.  Les Palmes is located approximately 65 miles southwest of Port Au Prince and has a population of approximately 38,000. Each twin parish decides on how they will help provide assistance to the sister parish.   

Our commitment has been for teacher salaries since 1999 and sponsorship of students for secondary school since 2005 has grown to 67 students. In November 2011 a vocational sewing center was set up in the school.  Computer lab (established by former donors) and sewing center was very welcome. In 2012 many barrels were shipped with hand tools and a carpentry class was established.

This community is only one example of how support makes a difference in “teaching a man to fish instead of giving them fish”.  We pray to continue our support for “Helping Haitians Help Haitians”!

Outreach to Haiti Diocese of Norwich is holding a Capital Campaign to build a modest Mission House on sight at Chris Roi property.  Since the earthquake the mission house was destroyed and a house has been leased.  It is time to move forward and save resources being spent on rent to be used for other needs.  

Please consider a donation to the Capital Campaign.  Outreach to Haiti, Diocese of Norwich, 815 Boswell Ave, Norwich, CT 06360-2536

St. Mary’s Pastor accompanied by 5 parishioners and a family member of a parishioner, traveled to Haiti for the first time in May of 1999.  We were introduced to the mountain region of Les Palmes, Haiti.  The group fell in love with the people and the place.  At that time a secondary school in Les Palmes did not exist and for most students the opportunity to further their education was out of reach. 

The group in a meeting with the Pastor of Our Lady of the Presentation, decided to raise funds to begin the secondary school by paying teacher salaries and the school was named College Jean Bruny. Funding for the teachers’ salaries has only increased twice by a small amount each time. Money was donated by another group to build the school.  Student enrollment is now around 500 in the 10 room school. 

Money for teachers’ salaries is sent for 10 months of the year. Funding comes from fund raising events, pledges and generous donors who help support the teachers’ salary account. Enrollment has grown to 510 students and 12 teachers. Funding is only paying for 7 out of the 12 teachers.

Please consider a donation to help pay for the salaries. 

Checks are payable to:
St. Mary Haitian Ministry (put Teachers’ Salary on memo line)
send to: St. Mary Church,
1600 Main Street,
Coventry, CT 06238.
Note on the envelope it’s for Les Palmes, Haiti.

Any amount will be gladly accepted.

Thank you for helping us to keep this school operating.