2014 was a memorable year for HHH and parishioners at Assumption Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Pulaski, WI. Seeds planted in Haiti by late Pulaski resident John Malcheski quite literally took root to expand his efforts into the Haitian countryside!
Friends of Mr. Malcheski, John and Lois Gracyalny and their family members, responded to an invitation to join their neighboring parish (St. Matthew in Green Bay) in Hands and Hearts with Haiti – a twinning partnership with St. Louis, King of France in Mirebalais. John (Malcheski) had realized, before his untimely death, that lack of education in the schoolroom and with various struggling farming efforts was a resolvable problem and should be addressed as far as our efforts might take us.
John (Gracyalny), ABVM’s 80+ year old parishioner, his wife Lois, their daughter LoAnn Steward, and a multitude of family members have been on several mission trips to Mirebalais and surrounding chapels since that early call in 2014. As ABVM’s ambassadors to Haiti, they have faced the challenges of:
- Growing an awareness of the difficulties of life in the Haitian countryside with fellow ABVM parishioners
- Fundraising, fundraising, fundraising
- Being there – offering hands-on support to the growing goat production efforts
- Building strong personal relationships with our Haitian staff and villagers
- Using John’s construction and design skills to help with necessary building projects to help the Mirebalais community achieve Pere Leveque’s vision of a school and agricultural center to help the people become more self-sufficient
The ‘Gracy’ family has truly responded to Msgr. Leveque’s invitation to visit him often in Haiti, learn more about his country, and deepen the friendship with his parishioners.