The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, and the chairman of the USCCB’s Haiti Advisory Group, Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami, will attend the Day of Reflection on Solidarity with Haiti convened by the Pontifical Commission for Latin America and the Pontifical Council Cor Unum at the Vatican on Saturday.
Archbishop Kurtz, along with a delegation of bishops will then travel to Haiti to visit a number of rebuilding projects.
“It will be so good to be joined in solidarity with Pope Francis concerning the tremendous human needs in Haiti, to discuss the ways in which sister churches have been walking with the Church in Haiti and to remember especially the victims of the January 12, 2010 earthquake,” said Archbishop Kurtz. “Our Conference and individual parishes and dioceses throughout the United States have long-standing and deep relationships with counterparts in Haiti.”
Archbishop Wenski, one of the main speakers at the event in Rome, pointed out that parish and diocesan twinnings are less noticed but very helpful signs of communion among the churches. He expressed encouragement that the solidarity with the Church in Haiti has increased among parishes and dioceses in the United States.
“I know that USCCB will continue to support awareness efforts regarding the need to stand in solidarity with Haiti in different ways. The reconstruction of the Church infrastructure in Haiti, as modest as it may seem, has made significant progress since the 2010 earthquake,” said Archbishop Wenski.
In addition to the event in Rome, Archbishop Kurtz will also be traveling Jan. 13-16 to Haiti along with Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and Carolyn Woo, president of CRS to attend the blessing of the Saint Francis De Sales Hospital in Port-au-Prince and visit other reconstruction projects. The hospital has been rebuilt with the support of Catholic Relief Services and the Catholic Health Association of the United States.
“We are also pleased that the One Church, One Mission approach we utilized with CRS to help the people of Haiti respond to the earthquake in 2010 was very helpful. The resiliency of the Haitian people has been a great asset in the rebuilding and recovery efforts,” said Archbishop Kurtz, adding that through the Partnership for Church Reconstruction in Haiti (PROCHE) the Church in Haiti already counts a number of completed church buildings including the Multipurpose Hall in the Diocese of Jacmel, the Saint Agnes School building and the Saint Francis of Assisi Church in Grand Goave and ongoing projects such as the Sacre Coeur church in Port-au-Prince.
Catholic Relief Services is the official international relief and development agency of the U.S. Catholic Community.
All USCCB aid for church reconstruction work in Haiti goes through PROCHE, an entity of the Haitian Bishops’ Conference. Since the Special Collection for Haiti was taken in dioceses across the United States in 2010 shortly after the earthquake, to date, a total of almost $22.65 million have been awarded to reconstruction projects from that collection.
The Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America oversees the Collection for the Church in Latin America as part of the USCCB Committee on National Collections. More information on this collection and the support to the Church in Haiti can be found at www.usccb.org/catholic-giving/opportunities-for-giving/latin-america/.