Cardinal Robert Sarah Visits Haiti 5 Years After Earthquake

Pope Francis Convenes Conference Next Year on Humanitarian Efforts on the Island

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Cardinal Robert Sarah, who was named Monday the prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, departed for Haiti today, more than five years after a devastating earthquake struck the island.

As the current president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, the Church’s charitable arm, Cardinal Sarah will be in Haiti through Saturday as a sign of “concrete spiritual closeness” to those involved with reconstruction efforts on the island, a statement from the Vatican said.

The African prelate will inaugurate a new school in Leogane, which was built with help from the local Church and funds sent by the Holy Father since the earthquake.

On Thursday, Cardinal Sarah will meet with local authorities and President Michel Martelly. He will also meet with Msgr. Erick Touissant, president of Caritas Haiti, and representatives of humanitarian organizations.

The final day of his visit will include a meeting with the episcopal conference of Haiti as well as the priests, religious and laypeople who have helped with reconstruction efforts. “The Cardinal will communicate the Pope’s special encouragement to all to continue their work with dedication,” the statement from the Holy See read.

Cardinal Sarah’s visit comes with the announcement that Pope Francis has convoked a special conference on Haiti for Jan. 10 at the Vatican. The conference will “ensure that attention remains focused on this humanitarian catastrophe” as well as “emphasize the Church’s closeness to the Haitian people.”

The meeting will be organized by the Pontifical Commission for Latin America and the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, in collaboration with local bishops.

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