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On September 8th, The Haitian Project celebrated its 11th Annual Big Get Together in the Rockford, IL Diocese.
By Elizabeth Cross
(VP of Community Development)
On September 8th, The Haitian Project celebrated its 11th Annual Big Get Together in the Rockford, IL Diocese. Giving the evening new flare, St. Thomas the Apostle Parish hosted the event adding live music and an all-out art show. “Every year the big get together has gotten bigger--this year it got really big,” smiled Deacon Patrick Moynihan. However, the focus of the event remained unchanged: coming together to celebrate the work.
This year’s Big Get Together provided an opportunity to honor Monsignor Dan Hermes, pastor ofSt. Thomas the Apostle Parish. Support for The Haitian Project in the diocese of Rockford began with Frs. Bob Sherry, David Beauvais, and Dan Hermes in 1997. All three have been actively involved in The Haitian Project for THP for more than 15 years.
“The involvement of these well-respected priests helped THP to find a home in Rockford. Their support and the support of their parishes made it possible for our mission to expand,” said Deacon Moynihan. “Monsignor also gave me the green light to become a deacon in the diocese. I hope he feels satisfaction in seeing the work he has helped to make possible with THP. I credit him with any good work I have done as a deacon.”
Since he became a priest in 1969, Msgr. Hermes’ joy and strong faith has not waned. Those who meet him are immediately struck by his love for the priesthood. He lives, acts and spreads the faith. He is quick to do God’s bidding and constantly encourages other to do the same.
While Msgr. Hermes has been instrumental in THP’s growth since its start in Rockford, he was quick to point out what THP has meant for St. Thomas the Apostle.
“There has been a wonderful impact on the parish,” he said. “The parish has a need to serve, and THP fills that need.”
With three groups from the parish making mission trips to Haiti in the past two years, Msgr. Hermes explained, “We already had serious understanding for the need in Haiti, but this has provided an opportunity for a much deeper education.“ The involvement of the parish with THP has become what he calls “a parish-wide blessing.”
Having served at five parishes throughout his 43 years of ordained ministry, only God knows how many lives Msgr. Hermes has touched. One thing THP knows, however, is that our mission has benefited in countless ways from Monsignor’s long standing involvement. THP is honored and fortified to have his support.