We had a special guest in the office this morning: Fr. Glenn Meaux of Kobonal Haiti Mission, which Cross Catholic Outreach has partnered with since 2004. Fr. Meaux talked about his missionary philosophy, which he adapted from the teachings of the late Bishop Ken Untener.
Fr. Meaux explained, “We are all created in God’s image. We all have the same dignity. NOBODY can take that dignity away. And we are one global society. We all need each other. How we make policies and decisions here affects places like Haiti and Rwanda, and transforms the world.
“Every person has the right to a certain quality of life and we all have the responsibility to make sure everyone has access to those rights. The Lord loves the poor so much because they don’t have access to food, shelter and other basic necessities of life. When you go to Haiti you hear, ‘Thank you, God!’ because they know that everything they have comes from God.
Jim Cavnar, president of Cross Catholic Outreach (left) first met Fr. Glenn Meaux (right) in 2003. The following year Cross Catholic partnered with Fr. Glenn’s Kobonal mission and has since funded a variety of ongoing projects including construction of about 200 homes.
“Stewardship is mentioned about 80 times in the New Testament. If we believe we are stewards, then we believe that everything we have comes from God. How we use it is our gift to God. That includes our work, which is also a gift from God.
“We’re all given virtues such as humility, love and mercy. What we do to bring about the Kingdom of God is to plant those virtues into a community so that when you die the legacy of the Kingdom is there. I don’t have patience, so I can’t plant those seeds. But I have love and gentleness. I plant those seeds.”
If you were to meet Fr. Meaux, you would immediately sense his love and gentleness. It is those virtues that won the hearts of the people of Kobonal, Haiti when he first arrived more than 20 years ago. “My leadership skills were lacking but I developed them,” he said. Now that the area is being transformed by education, water, housing, agriculture, microenterprise and the sacraments, it is evident how those seeds have grown – and are still growing – into quite a wonderful legacy.
Fr. Meaux told us he was able to bring much of it about after Cross Catholic Outreach partnered with the mission. He said, “You love the poor in ways beyond my understanding…I don’t think you realize how important you all are in building the Kingdom of God.”