The US Catholic Mission Association sent out the following news on Haiti:
A follow-up email can be read by clicking on "Read more…"
We have just received terrible news from Haiti.
In addition to the massive property destruction from the earthquake, the church lost our archbishop there and - so far - over 100 priests.
We are having a special noon Mass today for them.
This is the worst earthquake reported in Haiti in over 200 years.
United States Catholic Mission Association
Hecker Center for Ministry, Suite 100
3025 Fourth Street, NE
Washington, DC 20017
TO: Our Friends and Family in Mission
FROM: US Catholic Mission Association
Immediately, our thoughts and prayers go to the country of Haiti. We join our prayers with yours for those who have perished and more importantly, we continue to pray for the survivors who will carry memories of pain, sorrow, hurt, and terror in their hearts. As we respond in our own little ways to this agonizing moment, we can find solace in the Book of Wisdom that “God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living” (Ws 1:13). In times like this, we, the Christian community of faith are called to bring God’s heart into such a heartrending situation. We are God’s hands and feet as we reach out to those most in need. Let us find peace and strength in the words of Jesus, “Come to me all who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28).
No amount of literature or words can fully answer the questions raised by human tragedy. Yet, if there is one thing that tragedy brings, it is the faith community responding as one. No questions asked. Neither differences in race nor politics or language or religion can prevent the Spirit-alive-in –our-hearts from reaching out to those most affected.
And yes, it is in times like this when our spirits are shaken. We hold on to God’s Spirit and raise our voices in prayer before the Crucified. We may not be assured of an answer to abiding questions of suffering and death but nonetheless our assurance is that God-is-with-us!
As our eyes are glued on the news media giving us bits and pieces of information about the tragedy that has once again hit Haiti, we hear from the voices of our friends and family in mission.
“Last night I went to 3,000 funerals at once. Monica (who also works with me) and I just returned from the Notre Dame d'Haiti Church where some 1,200 people gathered for a prayer service in Solidarity with Haiti. Every person there had family in Haiti.
"People prayed intensely, and Fr. Reggie Jean-Marie gave a firm homily about the persistence of God's love for Haiti: "tonight, God weeps with Haiti…God has not forsaken us…Notre Dame (Our Lady of Perpetual Help) is our patron. She is our mother…tonight our mother mourns the loss of so many of her babies.”
People wept, waving pictures of loved ones-of little girls with triple braids-old men posing with starched suits clutched in their hands or waving in the air. People yelled in the agony of their loss, the grieving was the song, and the singing and grieving melted together.
I thanked God for just about everything then, for my life, for my family, even for my debt and distress. Soon I was thanking God for being there, and when it was finally over, I thanked God for that too.
But it’s not over. Tomorrow we will get up, look at the TV in disbelief, question God and go to work. I will put it away, somewhere in my heart where I keep love, anger, and other painful things, so that I can be somewhat productive. While in Haiti, the sad song continues, and tomorrow is dark and terrifying, and there is nowhere for them to put THAT away. Still in Notre Dame tonight, people left with their grief, but also undefeated, married to hope, with the certainty that God is with them. There is the miracle.
Bon Die Bon! The Good God is good. For in the Haitian language, it is awkward to refer to God as just God. God is always the Good God.”
Teresita J. Gonzalez, Amor en Accion, Archdiocese of Miami, USCMA Board President
“We have about 60 Brothers in Haiti. Schools and residences have been damaged, a few were slightly injured but, a last report (I got 4 e-mails from Haiti today,) no one was killed.”
Br. Marcel Sylvestre, FIC, Mission Project Service
“My feeling of frustration of not knowing about my confreres in Porte-au-Prince, our school there, the people living there. There has been no word as of yet.”
Rev. Chris Promis C.S.S.p, Catholic Relief Services
“The earthquake which hit the country of Haiti on January 12th has, by initial reports, cost the lives of an untold number of Haitians and devastated Port-au-Prince and the surrounding region. Haiti, the poorest nation in our hemisphere, has long been neglected by her neighbors and the larger world community, but is in need of their help at this hour of need. I urge our government to provide immediate relief and assistance to our neighbor.”
Bishop Thomas G. Wenski, Archdiocese of Orlando
“Our Church mourns the terrible suffering of our brothers and sisters in Haiti. The 7.0 magnitude earthquake that ravaged Haiti on January 12, 2010 has already claimed thousands of lives including the Archbishop of Port-au-Prince. It has destroyed countless homes, churches, seminaries, schools, and other buildings and has left millions without the most basic necessities of life. Our faith compels us to pray for and reach out to our brothers and sisters in their time of suffering.”
Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I., Archbishop of Chicago, President USCCB
“Our sisters in the two houses in Haiti are accounted for, though we know for sure that one house has collapsed. We are unsure about the other house, but Sr. Mard who lived there is 84 years old and was in a meeting with a priest who accounted for her after the earthquake. We ask for your prayers- from the members of the USCMA. I am certain that our six sisters there will now want to stay in Haiti even more to help with the recovery efforts that are already begun.”
Sr. Telie Lape ICM, District Superior of ICM, USCMA Board Member
“I had just returned from Haiti on Monday just missing the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti and struck Port-au-Prince. I was on the phone immediately after hearing the news and spoke with my sister in St. Marc which is located 60 miles from the epicenter of the earthquake. There was panic and screaming that I could hear in the background of the phone but was told that there was no structural damage to the school I helped to found following the earthquake and the aftershocks. I have not been able to make contact with my relatives since that phone call but I am currently working on returning to Haiti in the next two days to provide assistance. “
Deacon Rodrigue Mortel, Director of Missions, Archdiocese of Baltimore
“The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate of the US Province are, along with everyone else in the world, praying for and in solidarity with the people of Haiti. We feel especially connected to them, as Oblates from the US have worked in ministry there for more than 60 years and there are more than 130 Oblates, the largest male religious congregation present in Haiti.
We have suffered the loss of one of our seminarians in the collapse of the building where he was. As far as can be determined at this time, all other Oblates survived. The same cannot be said for our buildings in Port-au-Prince, as the seminary building has been destroyed and much of the provincial headquarters damaged.”
It is as these stories continue to pour into the USCMA that we invite you to share with the association your own stories, concerns, and insights into the devastation of the Haitian earthquake. We invite you to visit our blog at: www.uscma-dc.blogspot.com to share. Also, you will be able to read the full excerpts from other members of the USCMA.
There are also several organizations that are ready to assist with accepting donations. We encourage you to go to www.crs.org or to visit Amor en Accion on Facebook as they have a donation page set up on their profile.
This remains a time for us to stand with our Haitian brothers and sisters, to remember that we are all one body in Christ and when one of our members suffers, we all suffer. Let our act of solidarity stand as a reminder for all.