A Passionist Parish Reaches Out
to a Passionist Mission, page two
particularly meaningful for many of us. What a blessing and privilege it was to be able to go. —Greg Tacozza
The bishop noted to the young people present that they would remember this ceremony all their lives and the heroic generosity of the eleven men leaving on this mission.
Afterwards, the Bishop told me that this service was the most touching he has had as a bishop. There were few dry eyes in the church as we listened to the choir sing: "The Lord Hears the Cry of the Poor," and saw the medical team's living response to that cry.
As the men hurried out of the church to the airport with their loads of medical supplies, wives and many young children were hugging and kissing their husbands and fathers as they headed off to Haiti. They spent the night at Our Lady of Florida Passionist Retreat Center in North Palm Beach, Florida. At 5 A.M., Fr. Paul Wierichs and Fr. Pat Daugherty drove them to Fort Pierce for their flight with their precious supplies for the suffering people of Haiti.
Medical team members: Perrin Jones, MD, Eric Lindbeck, MD, Chris Hasty, MD, Mark Dellasega, MD, Cliff Hambrook, RN, Gregory Murphy, MD, Gordon Koltis, MD, Rob Klug, RN, Marcus A,bernaz, MD, Gregg Tacozza
Back in Greenville, Wendy Murphy, wife of Dr. Greg, Margie Dellasega, wife of Dr. Mark, and Jennifer Voos, wife of Dr. Kurt kept me informed on a daily basis. I heard how impressed the medical team was with the Passionist Community in Florida, how Fr. Rick met them at the airport in Haiti, how amazingly resilient and gentle the people were. The team spoke of the gratitude and faith of the Haitian people which so touched the doctors. Some of the non-Catholic doctors were inquiring about the Catholic faith. The team had cared for
over six hundred patients at one site alone. I heard of hundreds of children who were amputees.
We daily prayed for the medical team and for the people of Haiti.
All safely returned February 6th. Our six parishioners on the team shared their experience over that weekend at the Masses. Gregg Tacozza summed it up well. "There is no doubt that God's grace is sustaining efforts there. Otherwise our human nature would be overwhelmed. I felt I was totally in the presence of God the whole time there. The Passionist connection from beginning to end was
particularly meaningful for many of us. What a blessing and privilege it was to be able to go."
Everyone, without exception, said they felt they had worked in the presence of an exceptionally saintly Passionist priest, Fr. Rick. One doctor who had previously done missionary work in Calcutta, Africa and Central America said he had never before seen such misery and poverty and devastation. In the midst of all this sadness, these men did see miracles and the face of Christ in the poor.
Our parish is so very proud of the entire team and especially our parishioners: Despite their very busy schedules, they sacrificed to respond to the suffering Christ in Haiti. They literally risked their lives.They put the needs of Christ before their own. This is a glorious chapter in the history of St. Peter's Church in Greenville, North Carolina. ✙
Fr. Justin Kerber, C.P. serves as pastor of St. Peter's Church in
Greenville, North Carolina.