Benedict XVI Remembers Haiti on Quake Anniversary

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 9, 2011 ( Benedict XVI is again assuring Haiti of his prayer and concern; today after praying the midday Angelus he mentioned the plight of the island nation readying to mark the first anniversary of the earthquake that devastated its capital.

This Wednesday will mark the one-year anniversary of the quake that claimed the lives of some 220,000 people.

«In the context of the Marian prayer, I would like to offer a special thought for the people of Haiti, one year after the terrible earthquake, which has unfortunately been followed by a grave cholera epidemic,» the Holy Father said.

He also mentioned that Cardinal Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, is traveling to the Caribbean island today, «to express my constant concern and that of the whole Church.»

Cardinal Sarah will be in Haiti until Thursday. He will preside over a Mass among the ruins of the cathedral of Port-au-Prince, accompanied by the apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, and all the bishops of the island.

Before his departure to the Caribbean, the cardinal told Vatican Radio that during the visit, «I will try to show that not only the Holy Father is close to the Haitian people, but also the whole Church; the whole People of God is close to and prays for the population of Haiti that suffers.» He added that the faithful have a «commitment to help in a concrete way to rebuild the country.»

«We have done a lot,» the cardinal said, «but we should continue, because there is a lot to do: rebuild schools, hospitals, houses. Therefore, we should not forget this people that suffers and we should intensify the solidarity and support to help the people of Haiti to rebuild the country.»

The Pope’s secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, will celebrate a Mass in the Basilica of St. Mary Major on the anniversary date at 4:30 p.m.. The diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See and other diplomats in Rome have been invited to attend.

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