Latin American Bishops Urge Haiti Forward

Restate Solidarity With Quake-Stricken Nation

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BOGOTA, Colombia, JULY 27, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean have reiterated their solidarity with Haiti as the quake-stricken nation continues to recover from a massive earthquake that hit last January.

The presidents of the episcopal conferences of Latin America and the Caribbean, along with the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM), said this after meeting last week in Bogota with the president of the Episcopal Conference of Haiti, Archbishop Louis Kébreau of Cap-Haitien, to discuss the needs of the country six months after the natural disaster.

Haiti, already the poorest nation of the Western world, was devastated by the quake, which left some 300,000 dead, including the archbishop of Port-au-Prince, Joseph Serge Miot, and almost 30 seminarians.

The earthquake, the bishops said in a statement published Friday, “didn’t just move the earth. It didn’t just cause pain and suffering to particular people. It has been a wake up call for the Church in Haiti, and as well for the entire Church in Latin America and in the Caribbean.”

The bishops noted that for the past six months the country has received much needed aid for the most urgent necessities, but that the country needed help as well during an “indispensible second stage.”

The bishops stated that they “cannot forget” Haiti, and reiterated their “closeness and solidarity” with the nation. “We must look forward with them,” the note added.

As a conclusion of the meeting, the bishops agreed on four points of work: communication information that will help the promotion of humanitarian aid; facilitate the formation of priests, seminarians and laypeople; provide scholarships for candidates to the priesthood; prioritize and budget for the necessary construction of seminaries, churches, health centers and education centers for the laity.

The bishops stated that the Church in Haiti encourages them to “walk with hope to discover in this dramatic and defiant event the plan of God, and to grow in communion as a missionary Church.”

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