“The Good Shepherd intends to gather the whole flock, even those who don’t belong to this fold. The shepherd continues to invite and gather all those varied sheep into widening streams, flowing toward that holy city.
“That city of our dreams — and God’s dream — wants the presence of all the sheep, and the goats, and the prisoners, and the lame, and the mourners, the sad and the glad and the bad, all of whom will be healed as they enter in.” — Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, from her sermon at the Eucharist marking the 3rd anniversary of the Haiti earthquake, at Holy Trinity Cathedral, Port-Au-Prince, January 12, 2013.
Three California pilgrims and I joined Bishop Stacy Sauls, two other members of the Episcopal Church Center staff, and the Presiding Bishop in Haiti for a transformative pilgrimage leading up to the moving service of commemoration on January 12. The Rev. Deacon Davidson Bidwell-Waite, one of our California pilgrims read the Gospel in English during the service.
In the days preceding the service we had the opportunity to visit many ministries of the Diocese of Haiti: hospitals, clinics, primary and secondary schools, the famous Holy Trinity Music School, a trade school, a nursing school and a school for disabled children. One thing that came through in all those places of important ministry was the truth of what I quoted from the Presiding Bishop’s sermon: the people of Haiti feel concern and compassion for the whole people, the whole country — the whole flock indeed.
One nursing school student stood in response to my question, “What inspired you to become a nurse?” and said, “I see how many people are still suffering after the earthquake and want to help them.” Jojo, an adult and an accomplished artist who lives as part of the community at the school for the disabled (he was born without hands or feet and has been at the school since he was four), said, “I stay here to help children who lost limbs in the earthquake get over their anger. I want them to know that their loss will lead to development eventually, of not only other parts of them, but of their whole selves.”
We in the Diocese of California are deeply engaged in the tremendous work of helping rebuild the Holy Trinity Music School. I hope to have within myself the spirit of the many Haitians who understood the Gospel words that the Presiding Bishop preached to us on the 12th — to know and act as one, all under the guidance of our Good Shepherd.