Saturday, January 23, 2010

Stories from the Church in Haiti

Some updates from Haiti.

Father Augustin Almy, a diocesan priest who was in the Port-au-Prince seminary at the time of its collapse on January 12, spoke to CNA this week sharing the story of his survival and describing the devastation in Haiti following the earthquake.

Speaking to CNA outside the remains of the seminary this week, Fr. Almy explained that at the time of the earthquake, he was in his second-floor room of the seminary watching television. “Suddenly I heard a noise...then I saw the walls coming down as the whole house began to collapse.” The Whole Story here.

This is a part of an email from Fr. Don McEachin, C.S.Sp., who runs a mission in the Dominican Republic, dated January 20th.

Fr. Werby just got back last night from delivering a truck load of medicines which are badly needed, to an inland hospital in Haiti, in the Diocese which he is from, which was not damaged and is now full of injured from Port au Prince. We are planning more trips, and collecting more supplies. There are 60,000 refugees from Port au Prince in this town in Haiti where Werby went yesterday with two Diocesan trucks, and the needs are great, from clothes to medicine, and of course food. Our parish and our diocese will now partner with the Diocese that Werby is from to direct all our relief efforts there, since it is easier to get there from here, and there are no security issues like those now affecting Port au Prince. We have been warned not to try to drive again to P au P with supplies because of the armed bandits which have been attacking trucks coming in from the Dominican Republic. We are using a border crossing much closer to us and with more security. Also, at the border, the security forces send an armed escort to accompany us. I am impressed with the generosity of the Dominican people. Local business have contributed bottled water, rice, and medicines in considerable quantity which helps us greatly to keep the out of pocket costs down and increase what we can deliver. There was another earthquake in P au P a couple of hours ago, measuring 6.1 on the scale, and some of us felt it here although I did not. That's a pretty serious earthquake and we are praying that there will not be many more deaths as a result.

Below is news received from Fr. Joseph Philippe who starting in 1988 built Fondwa from the ground up. Fondwa was a rural community developed by him and the peasants and provided the surrounding communities with water, clinics school, literacy classes, stores, radio station and a credit union. It’s heartbreaking for the Spiritans and all who know of Fr. Joseph’s work.

Thanks for your concern, your support and prayers. We have lost about 25 people in Fondwa including a member of the Sisters of St. Anthony of Fondwa: Sr. Odile Damus and a child of 2 years from the Fondwa Orphanage: Jude Dubic. They both died at the APF Guest Center which have been destroyed completely. Everything in Fondwa has gone. The infrastructure that we have built in 22 years: the Orphanage, the School, the APF Center, the Clinic, the Radio Station ( Radyo Zetwal ) the Sisters' Convent, the buildings of the University of Fondwa ( 7 of them). Everything has gone. The epi-center of the earthquake was in Fondwa, between Leogane and Jacmel. The big building of Pastor Luc Guerrier has gone. The Roman Catholic Church in Fondwa has gone also. The Church of Philadelphie ( a Protestant Church) has gone with about 15 young people under the concrete blocs. The Spiritan have lost one Seminarian, Stephane Douge who died with 12 other Seminarians ( Oblates, Montfortans ) at CIFOR. CIFOR ( a theological school for religious in Port-au-Prince) is gone completely. The Cathedral of Port-au-Prince has gone also. The Archbishop of Port-au-Prince, Mgr. Joseph Serge Miot died and will be buried on Saturday January 24. A big part of St. Martial College has gone, specially the Elementary Section which was also used as the Spiritan Pre-Noviciate House. All of the buildings of St. Martial are damaged a lot. Our Spiritan house in Senghor where I live with Fr. Patrick Eugene is seriously damaged. Our court-yard is used actually as a Refugee Center for about 200 victims of the earthquake. The other Spiritans are Ok. Fonkoze has lost 3 employees - one Branch ( Bizoton near Port-au-Prince) has gone and 6 other branches very damaged. The Central Office and the Port-au-Prince branch are among them. But the rest of us are alive and are in strongly in solidarity with the rest of the Country. Together, we can rebuild Fondwa and Haiti.

Let's keep up those prayers.


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