Haitian Seminarians Lose Everything

As Many as 30 Killed in Quake

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By Jesús Colina

ROME, JAN. 21, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Seminarians in Haiti have been left floundering after the Jan 12. earthquake destroyed the seminary and left the 200 or so surviving students without even a change of clothes.

Aid to the Church in Need reported that at least 30 seminarians — both diocesan and religious — were killed in the 7.0 quake.

Bishop Chibly Langlois of Fort-Liberte gave the charity a report after he sent a delegation to pick up the 16 seminarians of his diocese.

“One of the seminarians spent two-and-a-half days under the rubble,” he said. “Another was injured.”

Bishop Langlois reported that three of the students were in shock and needed special care. “I have sent two to the Dominican Republic for check-ups and treatment impossible to get in Fort-Liberte,” he said. “In addition, the seminarians were not able to recover their belongings. That means that it is necessary for us to provide not only medical assistance but also financial help so that they can get themselves a change of clothes and other basic necessities.”

Xavier Legorreta, director of the Latin America division of Aid to the Church in Need, spoke to ZENIT about the urgent need of reconstructing the community.

The aid agency is sending $100,000 for this effort. That sum, pledged Tuesday, follows last Friday’s donation of $70,000 for emergency relief work. And the agency expects to send more.

It is the best they can do to respond to the call for help from the president of the episcopal conference, Archbishop Louis Kébreau, of Cap-Haïtien.

Aid to the Church in Need is working through the apostolic nuncio in Haiti, Archbishop Bernardito Auza.

The archbishop reported the “endless list” of damages and dead.

“All our beautiful churches are wiped out,” he lamented. And he affirmed his reliance on aid coming in from the Dominican Republic: “I have nowhere else to buy bread. I cannot multiply my sack of rice.”

Essentially the 80 parishes of Port-au-Prince and their chapels (around four per parish) were destroyed.

“We are talking about some 320 chapels,” Legoretta noted, illustrating the enormity of the task the local Church now faces. And the archbishop and vicar-general of Port-au-Prince are among those who lost their lives.

Legorreta is preparing an Aid to the Church in Need mission to the island in the upcoming weeks to analyze how it will be possible to respond to the situation of the dispersed seminarians, as well as the other dramatic needs of the Church.

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