VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 30, 2010 ( Benedict XVI continues to pray for Haiti, he affirmed Wednesday when he addressed a group of Haitian pilgrims attending the general audience in St. Peter's Square.

At the end of his synthesis of the catechesis in French, the Pope said: "I am pleased to receive the French-speaking pilgrims this morning, particularly those who have come from Haiti."

"I continue to have Haitians in my prayer, imploring God to alleviate their misery," he added. "May your pilgrimage to Rome, dear pilgrims, be for all of you the opportunity to deepen your personal relationship with Christ."

Tents for homes

Haiti was devastated Jan. 12 by an earthquake and more than nine months later, recovery efforts are lagging. As many as 1 million people are still displaced.

Archbishop Bernardito Auza, apostolic nuncio in Haiti, told the Fides agency that "up to now a solution seems unreachable that will resolve the problem of the displaced."

He recommended a tactic used by Catholic Relief Services: returning the displaced to the site of their former homes and providing them with provisional shelter.

Permanent homes are not even being considered at this point, given the costs and other urgent priorities.

"Reconstruction as such has not yet begun," Archbishop Auza affirmed.

The Church also has many projects struggling to get under way. The cathedral of Port-au-Prince was destroyed and seminarians are being housed in large tents.

"We hope that in three years we will be able to inaugurate a new and modern major seminary," the archbishop stated.

As well, elections are planned to begin Nov. 28, with 19 candidates competing for president.

The nuncio classified both political and logistical problems with the election as "enormous," but he said that "Haiti and the international community believe that, despite this, it is necessary to hold elections to consolidate political stability."