Benedict XVI to Haiti: We Won't Abandon You

Sends Message to Country’s President and Bishops

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 24, 2010 ( Benedict XVI is affirming that the Church will not abandon the Haitian people and will do everything possible to contribute to the country’s reconstruction after the Jan. 12 earthquake.

The Pope wrote this in messages to the Haitian president, René Préval, and the president of the country’s bishops’ conference, Archbishop Louis Kébreau of Cap-Haitien.

Both messages, publicized Saturday by the Vatican press office, affirmed the Pontiff’s sorrow for the quake victims and his nearness to the survivors.

In his letter to Haitian civil leader, the Holy Father expressed his prayer that God would «welcome into the peace of his kingdom all those who died in the earthquake» and «grant consolation to their families, who, often, were unable to provide their deceased loved ones a worthy burial.»

The Haitian authorities recently reported that 111,500 people have been found dead and another 193,891 are injured, with 3 million people displaced.

«I pray also,» Benedict XVI added, «that the spirit of solidarity will live in the hearts of all and that calm will reign in the streets, so that the generous aid that is arriving from all countries will bring relief to all and the people who today have lost everything will be comforted in knowing that the entire international community is taking care of them in concrete ways.»

Risking lives

He affirmed his appreciation for «everyone’s dedication, Haitians and foreigners, who on occasion are putting their own lives at risk,» to do «everything possible to find and tend to the survivors.»

«I thank them with my whole heart,» the Pope added.

Concluding his note to Préval, the Pontiff promised that «the Catholic Church, through her institutions, will remain beside the people tried by this disaster beyond the lively emotions that have been aroused.»

He affirmed that the Church will help the Haitians rebuild for the future to the best of its ability.

In his message to Archbishop Kébreau, the Holy Father set an assurance of his «great spiritual nearness» and his «fervent prayer for all the persons involved in this catastrophe.»

He wrote, «I ask God to welcome into the peace of his kingdom all those who died in the earthquake, especially Archbishop Serge Miot, Archbishop of Port-au-Prince, who shared the fate of many of the faithful, including priests, consecrated persons and seminarians.»

«In this moment of darkness,» Benedict XVI stated, «I invoke Our Lady of Perpetual Help, that she would be a mother of tenderness and guide hearts so that solidarity will prevail over isolation and [the attitude of] ‘every man for himself.'»

The Pope expressed his appreciation for the «very rapid mobilization of the international community, unanimously moved by the fate of the Haitians.»

He affirmed that «the whole Church,» through its institutions, «will not fail to bring help with medical aid and the patient rebuilding of the devastated area.»

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