Unfathomable devastation, destruction and death.
That is what we all watched, in profound sorrow and disbelief, as events unfolded following the January 12, 2010, earthquake in Haiti. We learned of the death of the Archbishop of Port-au-Prince, Joseph Miot, who was found under the rubble of his residence, according to one news report. There were other equally tragic news bulletins - seminarians trapped in the rubble of the destroyed seminary; priests there for a retreat, killed in the quake; church buildings - the seminary, big churches, the cathedral - reduced to rubble.
The Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States have established a special fund for long-term assistance for the Church in Haiti, as it will continue to respond in the wake of this natural disaster - the Haitian Solidarity Fund.
We applaud and encourage support of the efforts of social service and relief agencies, such as Catholic Relief Services, who are responding to the immediate and overwhelming humanitarian needs of our suffering brothers and sisters in that part of the world.
As the Church in Haiti assesses the massive damages and the overwhelming needs, they will need financial assistance as they help to rebuild the infrastructure of the Church there that will, in turn, be critical to serve the poor and enable the suffering here to rebuild their lives. And thus, the need for this fund.
We encourage the generous hearts of Catholics in the United States as they reach out in prayer and in sacrifice to the men, women and children who suffer even more now in this country. I ask, above all, for prayers for the Church there, and for missionaries, who remain witnesses of the great love and compassion of our Lord, and of His sustaining hope.
To support our Haitian Solidarity Fund - for longterm assistance - please follow this link, and select that option on the page. You may also send a contribution for that Fund to our national office at 70 West 36th Street, 8th Floor, New York, NY 10018. To offer help to Catholic Relief Services, for immediate relief and humanitarian assistance, please go to their website.
You may also visit our Facebook page to post thoughts, prayers and photos related perhaps to your own mission experiences in Haiti; let our sharing be a source of strength for and solidarity with all who are suffering.
The Pontifical Mission Societies include the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, the Holy Childhood Association, the Society of St. Peter Apostle, and the Missionary Union of Priests and Religious. These Societies promote a prayerful missionary spirit among baptized Catholics and to gather a fund of support for the evangelizing and pastoral programs of more than 1,150 local churches of the Developing World.