Today, OLN parishioners begin another pilgrimage to our twin in Haiti, le Ecole Normale de Papaye. Last February, when our last team of pilgrims visited Haiti, Joe Cuadrado started this blog. This year, I will pick up the reins, as Joe is busy planning his June wedding with his lovely bride-to-be, Laura.

The four pilgrims traveling to Haiti this week are Gene Yagow (our Haiti Ministry Committee Chair), Colleen Hernandez, Clermann Dieudonne, and myself. Ecole Normale has a new director, Sister Veronique, and the purpose of this trip is to introduce ourselves to her and ensure a smooth transition as we all get to know each other. I will also be making a few side trips to visit nearby schools in Hinche. This is part of a new initiative to twin Roanoke Catholic School (where I teach) with students in Catholic schools in the Diocese of Hinche, Haiti. If you like, you can follow that aspect of our trip at

The photo I’ve included with this entry is one that Joe took last year during our visit to the small health clinic near Ecole Normale. To me, this door represents all that is possible in this world if we embrace hope. When Jesus healed the deaf and mute man, he said, “Ephphatha.” Be opened. May this door represent the possibility of goodness and growth that exists in every human heart if we embrace openness to others, recognize our common humanity, and trust in the guidance Jesus provided us with His example.IMG_20170213_114136_DRO