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Delivering food, shelter, and hope to the poorest of the poor
Scripture, sacraments, and the manifestation of bringing God’s love to the poorest of the poor—those are three of the most important elements of Kobonal Haiti Mission, says Father Glenn Meaux. I had the opportunity to sit down with Fr. Glenn and talk with him about why he founded the mission in 1989, what’s been accomplished, and what he’s up to today.
One of Fr. Glenn’s biggest accomplishments in Kobonal, a rural village in Haiti’s Central Plateau, is freeing the people from the grip of the voodoo priests. When he arrived in 1989, people were oppressed by voodoo. Today the people worship together in the name of Christ.
“I believe the origin of our ministry here in Kobonal has been always a reverence to the Eucharist, a special devotion. In Haiti the peasants, the poorest of the poor, have a great love for her, for Mary, and a great love for their spirituality,” he said.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Fr. Glenn and talk with him about why he founded the mission in 1989, what’s been accomplished, and what he’s up to today.
Fr. Glenn’s housing program for poor families, supported by Cross Catholic, has transformed the landscape of Kobonal. Instead of mud and stick shacks, people are living in sturdy concrete homes. The mission also distributes monthly food staples like corn, beans, oil, and soap to the elderly and destitute and digs wells to provide clean water.
Fr. Glenn said the mission helps empower families so they can improve their lives on their own in addition to receiving a house or food. Through small business loans, job training, and education, the mission prepares families to support themselves.
“Our Catholic social teachings say that everyone in the world, everyone who has breath, has a right to the basic needs and access to the basic needs. One of them is education, one of them is lodging, and Cross International Catholic Outreach has participated in that, in helping us provide lodging for those who have none,” he said.
The mission’s outreach has also brought new believers into the church and into a relationship with Christ, he said. “A lot of them have been baptized and have come into the church. A lot of them have received cinder block houses from Cross International Catholic Outreach. You see that whole cycle—spiritual, material, social—continuing. It’s a relational element.”
When asked what the most rewarding part of his work is, FrGlenn said, “The most rewarding part is the building up of a faith community. Baptisms, confirmations, first communions—to see the children and adults, to see them blossom into a Catholic community. That is the greatest reward of any priest.”
Well said, Fr. Glenn!