VATICAN CITY, JAN. 10, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The president of the dicastery that oversees the Vatican’s charitable work is in Haiti today, delivering to the Haitian people the assurance of Benedict XVI’s closeness and concern, as well as $1.2 million to be used for the reconstruction of schools and churches.
Cardinal Robert Sarah is in Haiti as a papal envoy for a four-day trip that will include the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 12, 2010, quake that killed as many as 250,000, left 1 million homeless, and completely destroyed Port-au-Prince.
“The president of Cor Unum will take the Pope’s message and economic aid to the people so gravely hit a year ago,” explained a communiqué of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, published today.
Cardinal Sarah’s itinerary included a visit today to the religious communities of the Sisters of Christ the King in Leogane, whose hospital was destroyed by the quake, and the Little Sisters of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, who run a hospital for AIDS and tuberculosis patients.
He also visited a community of the Companions of Jesus, who had a center for the elderly and a school that were destroyed by the earthquake.
The $1.2 million collected by the Vatican for Haiti will be divided into $800,000 for the reconstruction of schools and $400,000 for the reconstruction of churches.
On Tuesday, Cardinal Sarah and the under-secretary of Cor Unum, Monsignor Segundo Tejado, will meet with Haitian President René Garcia Préval, and visit a camp for the displaced, where the cardinal will celebrate Mass.
“On Jan. 12, the cardinal will read the Pope’s message during the Mass of commemoration, a year after the earthquake,” explained the communiqué. Then he will meet with bishops and seminarians of the country and, finally, with directors of Caritas and international volunteer organizations.
His last event will take place on Thursday when the cardinal will celebrate Mass in the convent of the Daughters of Maria Parideans. The congregation lost 15 nuns under the rubble and 12 others were seriously wounded.
The communiqué added: “The visit will also have the objective to thank all those who collaborated in the huge work of the emergency phase and to renew the Church’s commitment to the reconstruction, urging a new phase of charitable commitment.”