Piscataway, NJ, May 01, 2010 --(PR.com
)-- Father Rick Frechette, a Passionist priest and medical doctor who has served the poor in Haiti for more than 20 years, will speak on the aftermath of the January earthquake at St. Paul of the Cross monastery church on Pittsburgh’s South Side the first weekend in May.
He will speak at the 6 p.m. Mass Saturday, May 1, and the 8 and 10 a.m. Masses on Sunday and give a presentation Tuesday, May 4, at 7 p.m. in the church. It is open to the public.
Father Frechette oversees St. Damien Hospital, Haiti’s only free pediatric hospital, in Port-au-Prince. He also heads an orphanage with more than 500 children in Kenscoff, Haiti, and the St. Luke missions, which operates 18 street-schools and clinics and provides running water and food to residents of the city’s slums.
He is founder and director of the Haitian branch of the international children’s organization Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos (“Our Little Brothers and Sisters”) and wrote a book on his work, Haiti: The God of Tough Places, the Lord of Burnt Men, published by Transaction Publishers.
St. Damien served 10,000 people in the first three weeks of the earthquake, and it has added a maternity ward and neonatal ward to meet the needs, since most area hospitals were destroyed.
The St. Germaine Rehabilitation Center for disabled children, adjacent to St. Damien, has opened a prosthetic lab that has fitted 70 prosthetics to help children with amputations walk again. They also receive physical therapy at the center.
The organization’s Francisville trade school bakery produces 10,000 rolls daily for the hospital’s patients and programs serving children in the tent cities.
The group’s Father Wasson Angels of Light program supports 1,200 children daily in tent cities by supplying water, two meals, activities and a safe place to play.
In a recent report on YouTube featuring Father Frechette three months after the Jan. 12 earthquake — now estimated to have killed some 200,000 people — he said that “we have made a lot of strides with all our difficulties.”
His organization will rent a building to house its social work programs and another for volunteers and guests to replace the hospital’s Father Wasson Center, which was destroyed in the earthquake.
“It’s really important to say, proudly, that nothing we built fell,” he said. “Any school we built is still standing. People have confidence that anything we built stood.”
Many, including his staff of 800, are still sleeping in tents.
“They come to work wet and tired,” he said, adding his organization continues to distribute food, tarps and tents.
He said some 20,000 people have had amputations and will need medical follow-up, fitting for prosthetic limbs and rehabilitation.
“Our problems are tremendous,” he said.
Father Frechette’s Web site is http://www.nph.org.
To read more about Father Frechette’s book, Haiti: The God of Tough Places, the Lord of Burnt Men, or to buy it, visit:
This article was written by Patricia Bartos and originally printed in The Pittsburgh Catholic newspaper, www.pittsburghcatholic.org.
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