Our Sister Parish Relationship
What is a Sister Parish relationship? The Parish Twinning Program of the Americas (PTPA) describes it as follows:
“When a decision to twin is made, a viable and loving relationship is established. This relationship then becomes a bridge whereby the love of God flows in both directions as parishes learn to care, share and pray for one another.”
They also offer the following guidance to foster such a relationship:
“Visits to the sister parish are strongly encouraged. These trips to visit your sister parish and the community can be a great joy, an adventure and an extraordinary learning experience. They provide firsthand experience to view the needs of the people, their customs, culture and visits increase understanding and awareness. They keep your relationship alive and viable. They are invaluable in helping to determine just what additional projects you may wish to pursue with your sister parish. Visitations from the pastor of your Twin parish also help to create a deepening bond and make it very real and personal.”
Our Sister Parish relationship? In the two decades relationship between our Church of the Risen Savior and the parish of St. Rose of Lima, we can testify to the wisdom of this advice. We have taken it to heart. We are living it out through loving acts of prayer and care for each other.
Twice each year, the parish of Risen Savior celebrates our sister parish relationship in all our liturgies, each with a special homily message and collection to support our sister parish works, and with hospitality, pictures and stories about our mission trips. For our annual September celebration, an in-person visit by our Twin-parish pastor provides a special opportunity to bring Haiti to Minnesota. For those in our Risen Savior community who cannot make the journey to Haiti, his message and stories are particularly relevant and touching as he bears personal witness about the lives, joys and struggles of his parish family.
In acting out our faith through this global outreach of love, we have developed an ever deepening bond of solidarity. Our parish communities have become loving and caring extended families to each other. Each of our mission teams to Haiti have been embraced by a homecoming like welcome and the cordial and generous hospitality of our Haitian brothers and sisters. Through it all, we and our Haitian brothers and sisters have all been blessed by the joys of giving and receiving. By it all, we give glory to God.
Our Mission Statement
A Brief History of Our Sister Parish Relationship
The following describes events, service and development projects over our Sister Parish history. What it does not describe are the many loving relationships developed over these years between members of our mission teams and people of St. Rose Parish and the great affection our distant parishes have developed for each other. For those stories, we invite you to visit here.
Sister Parish Timeline:
Late 1997 – With an idea from then Pastor Fr. Tom Sieg, a small committee was formed to consider a Sister Parish relationship. Mike Hassl, the parish Director of Social Justice at that time, then gathered information and organized informational meetings. Mike contacted Theresa Patterson of the Parish Twinning Program. The goal of the PTP was to pair parishes in the United States with parishes in Haiti, to be called “Sister Parishes”. (The program has since been expanded to include Haiti, Central and South America. It now identifies itself as the Parish Twinning Program of the Americas.)
Nov 1998 – St. Rose of Lima Parish in Gris-Gris, Haiti, was selected as our Sister Parish.
Feb 1999 – The first Sister Parish Celebration was held including a special collection that raised $15,000 toward finishing the St. Rose of Lima rectory.
May 1999 – The first Risen Savior mission to St. Rose was a five member team that returned realizing the immediate need for a medical mission.
Aug 1999 – The first Medical mission to Gris-Gris was a medical team led by Dr. Maureen Greenwood from Wisconsin Dells.
Oct 1999 – St. Rose pastor, Fr. Philippe, and Sr. Yolande visited Risen Savior parish with their stories about St. Rose and the continuing medical needs in Gris-Gris, Haiti. Our parish supported their work with donations of money and over-the-counter medicines and supplies.
2000 – 2009 Over this decade, our Risen Savior community participated in over 16 relationship missions of various purposes and team sizes. They included numerous medical and dental clinics, agriculture and teacher training; and supported Sister Parish development projects and ongoing St. Rose programs. The most significant of these were:
The response to this disaster by the community of Risen Savior was immediate and overwhelming. In late January, our Sister Parish Celebration collections totaled over $40,000 with $10,000 more in donations arriving over a few weeks following. Funds were quickly transferred to Fr. Samson, the St. Rose pastor at that time. He used the funds to purchase rice, medicines, fuel and supplies in critical need. The poorest families were also helped with repairing their damaged homes. Travel restrictions caused us to postpone missions for Agriculture and a Dental clinic in January and an Eye clinic mission in February.
2011 – During the five clinic days of this first Eye clinic mission in February, 614 adults and children were examined and over 80% of them were fitted with corrective lenses or sunglasses. Its team included our then pastor, Fr. Tim Wozniak. A November dental mission was the first preventive care clinic to provide dental hygiene and fluoride and treatments to all the students of St. Rose School.
Mar 2012 – A relationship and service mission team of three upgraded wiring in the rectory, visited Labiche to witness first-hand the structural damage to its chapel caused by the 2011 earthquake.
Mar 2014 – A dual purpose mission provided a dental clinic and repairs to the pipe, and a new pump and motor for the deep water well.
Jul 2015 – A hand-pump well was converted to solar powered pumping and a building constructed to house two 100-gal cisterns, support the solar panels on its roof and provide exterior faucets for filling containers. This well needs only sunlight to keep its cisterns full for distribution. Because no generator and fuel are required, this well also serves as an important backup source of clean water especially following weather or seismic related disasters when fuel to run the deep well generators is in very limited supply.
Nov 2015 – A combined dental clinic in Gris-Gris and relationship mission with our current pastor, Fr. Tom Krenik, who visited all six of the St. Rose Parish chapels.
Sep 2016 – A second level of three classrooms were completed on the east wing of St. Rose School.
Oct 2016 – Just 4 days into this month, Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti with Category 4 winds of up to 140 mph. Risen Savior parishioners donated about $29,000 for Haiti Hurricane Relief. Some funds were quickly transferred to Fr. Fayant and a special prayer service was conducted for the hurricane victims. Arrangements were also made for a full shipping container of Feed My Starving Children meal packs to be sent to Gris-Gris. Father was able to begin distributing this food in early 2017.
Jul 2017 - The two deep wells in Gris-Gris had new stainless steel pipe installed.
2018 to Present - This period has been another dark chapter in Haiti's history.
During the administration of President Jovenel Moise, growing unrest led to frequent mass public demonstrations, a resurgence in gang violence and increasing levels of inflation, unemployment, and food shortages in 2018. Government instability heightened in 2019 when in May a report alleged Moise had embezzled millions of dollars and the government's failure to hold elections in October. This environment led to travel restrictions and the cancellation of all planned mission trips. In 2020, travel was made even more impossible with the Covid-19 pandemic.
But all of this did not stop our relationship. The following notable programs and projects continued through these challenging times: