No Christmas This Year in Haiti


From Fr. John Henault, OMI with thanks to Bro. Richard Coté, OMI

“This is going to be the poorest Christmas Haiti has experienced in decades, at least in the 59+ years I have lived them.”  This statement was made by Fr. John Henault, O.M.I. in Gonaives, Haiti to a Canadian benefactor who wanted to know how he was doing, especially with the crisis facing the Haitian people since the country was taken over by gangs in 2021.

Fr. John Henault, OMI

Br. Richard Coté, O.M.I. Director of Oblate Foreign Missions stays in regular contact with the two remaining American Oblates stationed in Haiti.  In a recent email from Fr. Henault, he talks about the stalled Kenyan intervention, “They have been talking Kenyan intervention for four months now.  Their Parliament held up approval for two months.  Now their Supreme Court says their approval is unconstitutional, and that they will take up the issue again on the 26th of January 2024.  In the meantime, gangs are just expanding more and more.  Gonaives is totally surrounded.  There are two areas I was told to avoid.  I must take detours to get to the Leper Clinic.  The World Health Organization only sent enough medications for 3 cases when I have 15 Lepers on a waiting list in need of medication.”

Fr. John continues, “It’s a good thing, it may bring people back to the manger instead of decorations, Christmas trees with fancy, colored lights and presents.  So far, I haven’t seen a single decoration anywhere in Gonaives.  No sense putting up lights, there is NO electricity.  Also, communication is getting very difficult.  Phone signals drop off at any time while you are talking.  Internet is sporadic.  Stay healthy, stay happy, stay hopeful, stay HOLY.”