Earlier this year, two priests of the Haitian Mission wrote to Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan, vicar of the Eastern American Diocese, on the occasion of the fifth anniversaries of their respective ordinations to the holy priesthood. To give a small glimpse into the lives of our humble and hardworking pastors in the longsuffering Haitian land, His Grace has blessed for these to be published.
Please keep our fathers, brothers, and sisters in Haiti in your prayers!
Your Grace, Bishop Nicholas,
On my 5th anniversary to the priesthood, I rejoice and praise God for having given me the gift of the grace of the priestly vocation. My gratitude goes first to God. I thank His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion, for his blessings and His Grace, Bishop Nicholas, Archpriest Daniel McKenzie, Archpriest Jean Chénier-Dumais, and Matushka Rose May Legouté, in addition to all the people who accompanied me and who still accompany me on this demanding journey. On April 25, 2016, five years ago, I was ordained to the priesthood by His Grace, Bishop Nicholas. There are events in life that will never be forgotten. Some are so striking that, years later, we still remember them exactly. My ordination was for me an event of this nature. It was an immense joy!
It has been five years since I answered God’s call and I have kept my word until today. As a father, I am not spared from the crises of life. There are ups and downs in my life, too. I too know the discouragement, the disappointments, and the doubt. God chooses the poor, the weak, and the sinful beings to praise, bless, and heal, to be present through them with other men. To be a priest is to teach, to sanctify, and to serve. It is according to them that I direct my thoughts and actions, I try to merge them with my life. On this anniversary, it is a day of joy and gratitude for me. But it does not take big ceremonies to celebrate it. What matters to me is the gratitude for having received my vocation and the memory of my ordination. Yes, and also joy… and your gifts, of course; make me very happy. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! Being a priest, for me, is not a job – it is a vocation!
To be a priest is to radiate this vocation and live it as an example. The people we meet must feel this joy. I find the vocation of a priest to be a wonderful vocation. I am happy to be able to accompany people in their moments of happiness as in the painful periods of their lives; but above all, to preach the comforting Good News of God over and over again. To be a priest is and remains a wonderful vocation. It fills me with joy to be able to say and show by meeting people in person or by administering the Sacraments: God is interested in you and in your life and in your destiny.
For Him, you are infinitely precious, esteemed, and important. We pray today for priests who will ensure that the souls of believers do not die of thirst. I ask you for a prayer. A prayer that will give me also in the future the strength to fulfill my priesthood in the vineyards of the Lord. As we call for God’s blessing on our priestly service, we rely on the intercession of the Mother of God and to implore her to grant us her maternal protection and support in our daily concerns and miseries.
Priest Claude Pierre
Saint Augustin Parish in Jacmel. Pray for us as I pray for you daily.
Dear Vladyka Nicholas,
I desire to give thanks to the Lord our God for these five years of my priesthood, and I ask the Almighty God so that he can always continue to send the gift of the Holy Spirit upon me. I also give thanks to the Lord, for those who ventured out, faithfully according to the vocation they have received from God, my journey until today: His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion; His Grace, Bishop Nicholas; the administrator of Haiti, Archpriest Daniel McKenzie in Miami; Frs. Jean, Demetrio Romeo, Matushka Nadia, the secretary of the Orthodox Mission of Haiti and also to my family, my parents, and to my grandparents. I say a big thank you to all the donors who have decided to help me financially to carry out all the work of the parish of St. John of Shanghai & San Francisco in Les Cayes.
With love in our Resurrected Christ,
Priest Pierre Laguerre