The Parish Twinning Program has been a real story of love and commitment, bringing hope and aid to thousands of people in Haiti and other countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. The Parish Twinning Program of the Americas (PTPA), formerly the Haiti Parish Twinning Program and the Adopt-A-Parish Program, has been facilitating and maintaining parish linkages throughout the United States through the work of Executive Director, Theresa Patterson, since 1978.
The concept of the program originated through the efforts of businessman Harry Hosey of Old Hickory, Tennessee. Harry’s personal crusade to aid the suffering in Haiti began in 1957 following a pleasure cruise ship visit to Haiti. Seeing the plight of the Haitian people he seized that moment and decided to dedicate his time, resources and energy to improving the life and conditions of the poor.
Theresa Patterson, current Executive Director of the Program, first learned of the needs of the Haitian people in 1978 when Harry and his wife Alice made an appeal for support at St. Henry’s Parish in Nashville, Tennessee. As a result Theresa joined forces with him and accompanied him on a visit to Haiti. It was during that visit that she and Harry talked about the possibilities of parish outreach with Haiti. They felt that if one parish could make a commitment, why couldn’t other parishes become involved in this missionary effort? Harry had a dream and believed that “if every parish in North America would adopt a parish in the Third World, then we could really begin to change the world.” That was the inception of what is now know as The Parish Twinning Program of the Americas. Co-Founder Theresa Patterson has helped the Program to grow beyond expectations since its beginning.
The Program was officially incorporated as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit organization in 1992. The Program was also later designated as “affiliated” with the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Nashville. In 1999, the Program expanded to twinning with parishes in Latin America and parishes in the Caribbean outside Haiti. The word “twinning” was chosen to describe the program because it implies a coming together in a close relationship. Through this coming together, the twin parishes are joined in their search for an ever-deepening faith and in their shared struggle to lend hope to poor parishes.
Harry died in August 2000 but his legacy lives on and the work he perpetuated continues to bring change through opening the eyes and touching the hearts of thousands in the countries of the Caribbean and Latin America and North America.