May 07, 2010
Over 100 members of New York City’s Haitian Diaspora came to St. John’s University on April 24 to learn about a
unique microloan project established to aid victims of January’s
devastating earthquake. The event was sponsored by the University’s
Office of Mission and the Haitian Society.
Hosting the event for St. John’s was Reverend Patrick J.
Griffin, C.M., Executive Vice President for Mission and Branch
Campuses, and Lee Elie, President of the Haitian Society.
Members of the Haitian Society were on hand to welcome special
guests, providing any necessary assistance. Under the guidance of
Nashia Whittenberg, Associate Director of Multicultural Affairs,
students also entertained the guests with poetry and dance.
Most Reverend Guy Sansaricq, Auxiliary Bishop of Brooklyn, offered
the Benediction. He was followed by Reverend Robert Maloney, C.M.,
former Superior General of the Congregation of the Mission, who
spoke about achieving justice through systemic change. Dr. David
Miller from DePaul University discussed the microloan program’s
website, and Kathleen Felix, from Fonkoze, demonstrated how to make
St. John’s is co-sponsoring the program with Fonkoze, a Haitian
company that describes itself as Haiti’s alternative bank for the
organized poor, specializing in procuring financial resources for
the needy in Haiti, particularly women.
The St. John’s effort coincides with this year’s 350th
anniversary commemoration of the deaths of St. Vincent de Paul and
St. Louise de Marillac. Honoring these great saints, the worldwide
Vincentian family has identified Haiti as a country whose people
are in need of special attention.
Anyone interested in contributing to the support of Haiti through
this microloan project please visit www.zafen.org.