The Congregation of Holy Cross’s Our Lady of Perpetual Help Province in Haiti celebrated with great joy four Priestly Ordinations on February 22, 2020, in Cap-Haïtien. The Most Rev. Launay Saturné, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Cap-Haïtien and President of the Conference of Bishops in Haiti, presided at the ordinations of Fr. André Junior Thomas, C.S.C., Fr. Widely Jean, C.S.C., Fr. Jovnel Celifin, C.S.C., and Fr. Jean-Vital Blaise, C.S.C.
The four men had previously made their Final Professions on September 8, 2019, which was the 75th anniversary of the arrival to Haiti of the first Holy Cross missionaries from Canada in 1944. Their Profession Mass was held at Collège Notre-Dame du Perpétuel Secours in Cap-Haïtien, the very school to which the first missionaries arrived. All four were then ordained deacons on September 14 in a Mass at Our Lady of Assumption Cathedral in Cap-Haïtien.
As with their Final Profession and Deaconate Ordinations, the Priestly Ordinations of Frs. André, Widely, Jovnel, and Jean-Vital drew a large crowd to the celebration. There were around 50 concelebrating priests, including 30 from Holy Cross, in addition to many religious sisters and members of the men’s own family, friends, and colleagues.
In his homily, drawing on the inspiration of the Holy Cross charism, Archbishop Saturné encouraged the new priests to be filled with zeal, like Peter and Blessed Basile Moreau. He also urged them to become bearers of hope in a country plagued by a seemingly unending social and political crisis.
In his words of gratitude, Fr. Eric Jasmin, C.S.C., Superior of the Province, expressed his own joy on behalf of the Province. He called on the four new priests “to continue the mission of evangelization that Christ entrusted to the Church, via St. Peter.”
After the ceremony, a grand “agape” gathered the newly ordained with their families and friends to celebrate and gives thanks with the other Holy Cross religious present.
For now, all four newly ordained will begin their priestly ministry where they have been serving these past months as deacons. Fr. André is at Ecole Père Pérard in Plaisance; Fr. Widely is at Collège Saint-Eugène de Mazenod, Fort-Liberté; Fr. Jovnel works at Collège Sainte-Croix in Limbé; and Fr. Jean-Vital continues as Executive Secretary to the Provincial.