Monday, July 19, 2010

Saint Irenaeus

I was at St Irenaeus Church in Cypress, CA this past weekend.  What a great crowd-- attentive and generous.  Thank you, Father Patrick, for the invitation, and thank you to all the parishioners who made me feel at home.  I hope this is the beginning of a long and mutually beneficial relationship.  God bless you all!

Big Bird

And here's Big Bird completing the Sesame Street trio for our Pre-school!  Excellent work!!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Broken bones

I wonder if we'll ever get through one vacation period without a broken arm?


It takes a lot of imagination, time and people to keep the children occupied when school is out.  Above are a few photos of the kids in a classroom, preparing for a running competition and the daily chore of picking up trash.

Coordination Exercise

Paige Orlowski brought down a team of volunteers who will be at Espwa for a week.  Here are a few of them working with the children on teamwork.  Paige is a teacher and has tons of great ideas for activities and lessons.  Pretty cool parachute, non!?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Los Alamitos, CA

I was at St Hedwig's Parish in Los Alamitos this past weekend.  Father Ken and his community were very hospitable to me and very generous in their support of the children.  We are very grateful and ask God to continue to bless them. 
I'll be at St Irenaeus Parish in Cypress this coming weekend.  Father Patrick graciously invited me to preach at all masses.  The following weekend I'll be at Santiago de Compostella in Lake Forest.  Have been going there for six years now and the parish has been very supportive of our efforts. The pastor there, Father Dave, has been an exceptional friend over the years.
I'll be speaking at five Rotary Clubs while in California.  Rotary Clubs and Rotary International were the first on scene in Les Cayes right after the earthquake.  They arranged the transportation of medical teams, medicine and equipment and so were directly responsible for saving hundreds of lives and limbs.  We are very proud to be associated with Rotary!

Cookie Monster

Is this great or what?  The kids of the pre-school are gonna love this when they get back from summer vacation.  Peter forwarded this photo of the wonderful work being done to the interior of the pre-school by our volunteers.  Thank you very much, Melinda.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


I was sitting and minding my own business about twenty minutes ago and the world started swaying.  It took a few seconds before I realized that this was an earthquake.  What?  Here I am in San Diego, a whole continent away from Haiti, and --all of a sudden-- I'm right back in Haiti. 
If you visited Port-au-Prince today, you'd think the earthquake had just happened.  Debris is still everywhere; thousands and thousands of families are living in tents; humanitarian aid is still being distributed.  Everyone is waiting for the reconstruction.  The big question is when.  When will the jobs come?  When will the homes be built?  When will the health system be able to respond to the people's needs?  And so on... 
Haiti was on the front page of every newspaper for a while.  But other crises have replaced the devastating 12th of January.  That's how things work in the media and now it's hard to find any news about Haiti in the papers.  Please don't follow their example.  Remember our Haitian sisters and brothers.

Back home

The feeling was very different this afternoon when the students returned from the exam.  Elation was in the air, a very good sign!

Welcome, Elmo

Now, ain't this cool?  Melinda showed us her talent and painted Elmo on a Pre-School wall.  But what about Big Bird?  Or, my favorite, the Cookie Monster?  Stay tuned.

Heading out

Notice that there are few smiles in this photo.  The state exams are major stressors.  We all know students who failed this exam even though they were exemplary in every way in school. 

Rain and exams

National exams were not delayed because of lots of rain.  These three are set for the state exam which will determine whether or not they continue their classical education.  The above are in the ninth grade and have to pass three days of tests if they want to continue into the 10th grade.  Best of luck to 'em.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Melinda and Aaron
Here are Melinda and Aaron putting a second coat on the pre-school.
Thanks to Peter/Linda for the photo.