‘‘We pray for those who have perished, for the injured, for the displaced and for relief personnel who are courageously working to assist the people of Haiti during this difficult and sad time.’’ CNS photo/Matt Marek, American Red Cross handout via Reuters
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News of the human tragedy unfolding in Haiti is heartbreaking, and it calls all of us to action to help the people impacted by the earthquake.
We pray for those who have perished, for the injured, for the displaced and for relief personnel who are courageously working to assist the people of Haiti during this difficult and sad time. We ask God to bless Haiti and to be merciful in their hour of need. The destruction has devastated a poor nation of people who cry out now for the help of the world community. The Archdiocese of Boston will do its part in assisting our brothers and sisters in Haiti.
As I mentioned to the people at a meeting at the cathedral on Wednesday (Jan. 13), it had only been two weeks since we had gathered there with so many members of the Haitian community to mark the January 1 Haitian independence day celebration with the Mass and the “Te Deum.” We had no idea that 12 days later we would be coming together again reacting to one of the most terrible crises in the history of the Haitian people -- this terrible earthquake whose epicenter was so close to the capital of Haiti, which is the most densely populated part of the country.
The meeting at the cathedral was organized by State Representatives Marie St. Fleur and Linda Dorcena Forry. Over the course of the evening, there were probably about 2,000 people who attended. The governor, the mayor, senators, many public officials, the head of Catholic Charities, the head of the Red Cross, and many representatives of different churches and civic organizations all were part of it.
The initial reports are saying there are many, many casualties, many deaths, as well as wholesale destruction of neighborhoods and even historic buildings -- the government buildings, the Presidential Palace, and the cathedral have been destroyed.
Among the thousands of people who have lost their lives was Archbishop Joseph Serge Miot, the Archbishop of Port-au-Prince. He was a friend of mine and his death will be a great loss to the Haitian church.
In the last couple of years, Haiti has been afflicted by very terrible tropical storms that resulted in flooding, much death, and disaster. This, on top of everything that Haiti has been through, is a very devastating blow.
The fact that there is not the kind of infrastructure or resources that would be needed to deal with the necessary rescue or relief efforts compounds the severity of the situation. We hope that, as soon as possible, measures will be taken to improve the country’s ability to adequately respond to these crises.
Certainly, the Haitian people have suffered very much in their history and have always done so with great courage and dignity. I know that they will suffer this latest tragedy with the same determination and ability to rebound. We just hope everyone will be able to work together closely and that the international community will be generous in coming to the aid of the Haitian people.