editor’s note: We asked FAR student ambassador Anne to document Pere Jeannot’s visit to southern California last week. This is the first of two articles written by Anne, to give our friends greater insight into the life and ministry of FAR’s coordinator in Haiti.
Pere Jeannot Joseph may be a small man, but his words spread a huge message. Pere Jeannot is a Haitian priest not just to one church, but sixteen. He is a busy man, but still makes time for his wife and their three children. Pere Jeannot met his wife, Aline, at church. “She was very young, but very responsible, and I followed her,” said Pere Jeannot, causing everyone around him to laugh. “And finally we fell in love.” Pere Jeannot’s children Christelle (10), Olivier (7), and Alijah (5) all attend St. Pierre’s School in Mirebalais, Haiti. Christelle is in 5th grade, Olivier is in 2nd grade, and Alijah is in 1st grade. Pere Jeannot’s favorite thing to do with his family is to go to the beach. But with work, this happens on only special occasions. Pere Jeannot’s career became clear when he was a acolyte for his church. His friends would call him Pere Jeannot (Pere in French means father) in 9th grade because he was always at church. After classic schooling, he went to a seminary to study to become a priest. It was required that he would learn English. His first visit to America was part of his seminary training. He visited Knoxville, Tennessee for a Clinical Pastoral Education in 1990. It was hard for him to understand what the locals were saying, but he overcame it. It is a lot of responsibility to be a priest of sixteen churches and fifteen schools. According to Pere Jeannot, the police in Haiti do not always do their job well, so people come talk to their local priest if they have any problems that need fixing. People from his many parishes go to Pere Jeannot for advice. He not only helps out his local community, but the world around him. He has traveled to the Dominican Republic, United States, and islands near Haiti to see people or complete projects. One place he would like to visit is Canada. Pere Jeannot would visit just to be a tourist. Pere Jeannot may be just one man, but his teachings spread to the hearts and souls of others around the world.