Benedict XVI Sends Words of Hope to Haiti

Names Successor to Prelate Killed in Quake

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, JAN. 12, 2011 ( Benedict XVI is assuring the people of Haiti of his closeness and prayers on today’s anniversary of the earthquake that claimed almost 300,000 lives last year.

«In order to mark the first anniversary of the terrible earthquake which struck your country, I join you all, dear Haitians, to assure you of my prayers, particularly for the dead,» the Pope stated.

The message was read today by Cardinal Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum and special envoy of the Pontiff, in Port-au-Prince at a commemorative Mass. 

The cardinal brought $1.2 million to be used for the reconstruction of schools and churches. 

The Holy Father continued in his message: «I also wish to pronounce a word of hope in the current particularly difficult circumstances. 

«The time has come to rebuild, not only material structures but, and above all, civil, social and religious coexistence.» 

He expressed the hope «that the Haitian people will become the main actors in their own present and future, also with the support of international aid which has already demonstrated great generosity with economic support and volunteers coming from all parts of the world.» 

Benedict XVI affirmed, «I am present among you through Cardinal Robert Sarah,» who «with his presence and his voice, brings you my encouragement and affection.» 

The Pope concluded: «I entrust you to the intercession of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, patroness of Haiti who, I am sure, in heaven, is not indifferent to your prayers. May God bless all Haitians!» 


The Vatican today announced the Pontiff’s appointment of Bishop Guire Poulard, 69, of Les Cayes, Haiti, as archbishop of Port-au-Prince.

Archbishop Poulard succeeds Archbishop Joseph Serge Miot, who died in the earthquake last year. 

The Holy Father also named Monsignor Glandas Marie Erick Toussaint, 45, pastor of the cathedral and director of Caritas in Port-au-Prince, as an auxiliary bishop of that archdiocese. 

The Port-au-Prince Archdiocese has 2,912,000 Catholics, 284 priests, 2 permanent deacons, and 1,708 religious. 

Bonds of communion 

Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), also sent a message of support to Haiti on behalf of all of the prelates. 

The message, addressed to Archbishop Louis Kebreau of Cap Haitien, president of the Bishops’ Conference of Haiti, stated, «As we all gather to prayerfully remember the dead, as well as those still grieving and suffering, we call on the Lord’s unfailing presence, to strengthen us all and the bonds of communion and solidarity that have bound us together in the wake of this tragedy.» 

«Together with Catholic Relief Services and the many, many Church partnerships between our countries we remain united in prayer and steadfast through the difficult months and years ahead,» Archbishop Dolan affirmed. 

He added, «We have achieved much so far and we will continue our dedication in fraternal love and support.» 

Bishop Howard Hubbard of Albany, New York, chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace, noted, «Recovery and rebuilding in Haiti is particularly challenging, since Haiti suffers from grinding poverty and its effects, which makes a natural disaster that much harder to overcome.» 

«Congress should reintroduce legislation similar to the Haiti Empowerment, Assistance, and Rebuilding (HEAR) Act introduced in the last congress,» he stated. «This legislation would provide a framework to guide long-term, comprehensive assistance to Haiti.» 

He urged the U.S. and Haitian authorities to «redouble their efforts to build capacity within Haiti and among Haitians so that committed funds can be used well and bring about real change in Haiti.» 

Archbishop José Gomez, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, underlined the need for migration policies to «keep families together and ensure that remittances, crucial to a country with little income generation, continue to flow to the stricken nation.» 

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