Diocese of Rockville Centre
Mission to the Dominican Republic
A people united in Christ
Un pueblo unido en Cristo
More than 30 years ago Bishop John R. McGann responded to a call for help from a brother bishop. He committed the spiritual, personnel and financial resources of the Diocese of Rockville Centre to a parish located in a remote part of the Dominican Republic. Why ? Because thousands of people were unable to celebrate Mass and receive the sacraments. There was no priest to minister to them.
The Diocesan Mission is located in the Dominican Republic. This country shares the island of Hispanola with Haiti. Today the mission consists of three parts. The parish of St. Peter the Apostle in El Cercado, the parish of Our Lady of Fatima in Hondo Valle and the Inn of the Good Samaritan, a hospital hospitality house directed by the Sisters of Resurrection. Here, the sick poor who are received by the Sisters and their staff experience the healing, compassionate love of Jesus.
In the Diocesen Missions in the Dominican Republic life is very primitive. The small homemade houses of two rooms have no flooring, no electricity or running water, no glass windows and no toilet facilities, A simple cookhouse a short distance from the house shelters the pit fire where the mother prepares the daily fare of rice and beans. There is little variation and little meat. A few proud owners of chickens have eggs and an occasional meal of rice and chicken. Rarely do they have money to buy such luxuries as clothing or shoes.
At the rivers' edges one sees women squatting by rocks where they wash clothes which they hang on nearby trees. Men work in the fields and take care of small farms on which they grow beans, rice, corn or coffee. They plant in rocky, sloping, dry fields using hand-held plows. There is never any guarantee that the plant will produce a harvest. Extremely heavy unexpected dry seasons can substantially reduce or completely destroyed a crop.
The missionaries, with teams of catechists regularly visit these campos. They accompany the people in their efforts to form farmers' organizations and women's groups. They celebrate Mass, participate in religious celebrations at the time of death and prepare people for the sacraments.
The people are a very hopeful and happy people. National disasters and set-backs never seem to shake their spirit. The one event that often presents an almost insurmountable obstacle is serious sickness. There is so much suffering due to the lack of medical facilities and supplies. For the fortunale who have the strength to walk long distances to rural clinics, basic care can be obtained. But for anything more complicated one must go to a specialty hospital in Santo Domingo, a trip of 5 or 6 hours from their-homes.
The Inn of the Good Samaritan has served thousands of campesinos who arrive in the capital for care. The day begins very early transporting patients. There are long lines to be examined, long lines to obtain admission tickets to laboratories, X-Rays and sonograms. When surgery is indicated find blood donors must be found and, brought to the Red Cross, take the blood to the hospital, then buy the surgical supplies and medicines. After that, it is time to bring sheets, pillows, and even food to the hospital. Recuperation time is spent at The Inn and that is definitely a “happy time" as the patients minister to one another and there is always a very upbeat spirit.
How can you help? Pray and Donate today! Thank you!