Huntley's St. Mary's Church continuing its ministry at sister parish in Haiti

A Huntley church ministry that helps an isolated village in Haiti says their ministry will continue despite the recent kidnapping of Christian missionaries there.

Members of the Haiti Ministry at St. Mary's parish in Huntley were at first worried about the safety of the pastor and other parishioners after the news Oct. 16 that 17 Christian missionaries were kidnapped by a local gang who demanded a $1 million ransom for each of the captives.

"Although St. Mary parish has always been keenly aware of the vulnerability of the pastor at St. Louis parish, it is even now more acute," said Jeannie O'Leary, a member of the ministry.

"Although our ministry has not been able to visit our sister parish since the fall of 2018, we are able to continue our work through financial support for the Catholic parish, St. Louis Roi de France," O'Leary added.

The ministry, which has been supporting the parish since 2009, supports a grammar school of 800 students, workshops for teachers, medical training for midwives, health-related courses, a computerized learning lab, and improved farming programs.

The parish's isolated location, which can be reached only by a four-wheel drive of between two to three hours over a rough mountain road, was once seen as a detriment.

"It's now seen as a blessing," O'Leary said. "Being so isolated from the main highways and cities, the parish has been spared the devastation of the pandemic COVID-19 and a need to close the schools and church due to the presence of gangs."

"Our Haiti Ministry has seen our sister parish survive and revive after the 2010 earthquake, typhoid outbreak, hurricane destruction, and now the lack of law and order. We are committed to our relationship with St. Louis and will not abandon them as they rely so heavily on us for giving them hope," O'Leary said.

To learn more about the church's Haiti Ministry, visit

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.