As many of you may know Holy Family Parish of Cape Ann has a thriving mission outreach to its sister parish, Nuestra Senora del Pilar, in Cevicos, the Dominican Republic. It began in 1999 when Deacon Bill Kane made his first trip to Cevicos and recognized the depth of the poverty in this community located in the center of the Dominican Republic. Seventeen years later, the mission has grown to include home visits, educational scholarships, loans to small businesses, home repairs, and a partnership with Shriners Hospital in Boston to treat children with more serious needs. The cornerstone of the mission outreach is thrice yearly visits to Cevicos by teams of missionaries to deliver medical care.
Jean and Willy Dugan, members of the Mission team which will be traveling to Cevicos next Saturday, January 14th, highlight some of the past year’s accomplishments in their letter below. -MN
To our dear friends of Holy Family Parish Mission,
Willy and I are packing for our trip to Cevicos; we’ll be leaving on the 13th for what we hope is another week filled with blessings and work with the people we have come to love there. I would call it an “annual” trip but it’s actually the culmination of our year-round work with this amazing project which is so much more than the sum of its parts, and which continues to bring us joy, year after year.
Several exciting things have happened in 2016 that illustrate how far we’ve come over the past 17 years. One of our biggest dreams has come true: we’ve hired a young, bilingual doctor, Doctora Mariney Perez, to run a drop-in clinic and pharmacy in our building five afternoons each week. This means that our mission has a medical presence in Cevicos not only for the three weeks our missionaries can be there, but all year. Dra. Mariney can keep tabs on the many patients we see with chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes, she is available for the very common “el grippe” in children, and she can recommend special cases for further treatment and translate complicated medical records.
We’ve also continued our relationship with the incredible Shriners Hospitals for Children in Boston, and this fall we brought three young children to Boston for serious (and successful), life-changing surgery. Yosmayri (4) and Frederick (11) had both accidentally ingested caustic cleaning fluids – a common hazard for families living in poverty. Each of them is now thriving and able to eat solid foods for the first time in years. Elizabeth (10) was here for the second of many plastic surgeries for burn treatment, this time a skin graft to help her move more easily as she grows. Yosmayri’s mother told me “We found in all a family”. A partnership with an organization called Children’s Flight of Hope makes transportation more affordable as we bring more children to Boston.
Along with these important developments we continue the work that was begun in Cevicos in 1999: We continue to collect and purchase medicines and medical supplies for our three mission trips each year; we support and encourage several young people in their university studies, we visit people who are homebound (and provide the nutrition and hygiene products that they need between visits); we have a revolving microfinance fund that enables small businesses to get a good start and we have been providing some home repair grants so families can live in safe, sanitary homes. And we continue to try to find sources of clean water, since so many of the diseases we see in our clinics are the direct result of contaminated water.
We are not part of any larger organization and every dollar we raise goes directly to our programs and our work in Cevicos. One of our partners is MAP International which provides generic medications at very low cost for groups like ours. Because it is work that continues 365 days a year, donations are needed year-round. If you would like to donate to our work, you can send a check, made out to “Holy Family Parish Mission”, to Willy Dugan, 15 Cherry Street, Gloucester, MA 01930 or give through PayPal on our website, www.holyfamilycevicos.com.
Please keep these three children in your heart, and others that we may meet next week. Thank you for whatever you can do, whenever you can do it.
With our love and best wishes that your 2017 may be a year filled with goodness,
Willy and Jean