The Haiti Committee of Immaculate Conception Parish facilitates our relationship with our twin parish, St. Francis Xavier, in Fond des Blancs, Haiti. Fond des Blancs is a rural, farming community located in the southern part of Haiti, about a five-hour drive from Port-au-Prince.
Our twin parish has asked us for financial help to support their school. Our contributions help to pay teacher salaries and educational expenses. Our funds support the main school in Fond des Blancs and 18 chapel schools in the 25 square-mile mountainous areas surrounding Fond des Blancs.
The school in Fond des Blancs has kindergarten through 10th grades. The smaller chapel schools are primary schools only. If students continue their education they attend the high school portion of St. Francis Xavier in Fond des Blancs. Only a small percentage of primary school students go on to high school.
Their school in Fond des Blancs started out with three grades and now has 12 grades. This allows students to stay home while they complete high school. Before this students went to and lived in Port-au-Prince to finish high school.
Parishioners from Immaculate Conception visit Fond des Blancs every one or two years. In August 2004 a group went to visit our friends at St. Francis Xavier and to work with a medical group in the area. A representative from Fond des Blancs comes to Knoxville every few years. In October 2004, the pastor of St. Francis Xavier, Father Icilio Dossous, visited our Paulist Fathers for a weekend and spent time at Immaculate Conception.
The Haiti Committee meetings are announced in the bulletin and everyone is welcome. For more information, contact the parish office at (865) 522-1508 or visit www.parishprogram.org.