Six south St. Louis parishes join forces to support new Immigrant and Refugee Ministry

Finndia Cherelus and her cousin Dieunite Henrichel lingered over a stove, occasionally stirring several pots of food they were preparing for lunch.

It’s a new routine for the cousins, who were making some of their favorite recipes from their native Haiti, including chicken, beet salad, and black beans and rice with shrimp. They came to live with Deacon Dana Engelhardt and his wife, Chris, in December.

The two are seeking asylum in the United States. When they arrived in St. Louis, they asked someone at the Downtown bus station where they could find help for immigrants. An internet search led them to iHelp, an English language education program for immigrants, located in the former St. John the Baptist High School building. On the day after Christmas, the cousins showed up in the church’s parking lot, luggage in tow.

As their luck had it, Cherelus and Henrichel were led to the right place. But Chris Engelhardt sees it differently. “When God gives you a gift, He sends His people,” she said. “I thought, we should take care of them.”

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