Monday, February 8, 2010

Faith Among the Ruins

The Miami Herald reports on Haiti, faith, and the Catholic Church:

Sacred Heart was among at least 60 Catholic churches that collapsed in the 7.0 quake that killed more than 100 nuns and priests and the top church leadership. It's estimated that seven out of every 10 Catholic churches were lost. Damage estimates run in the tens of millions of dollars.

The earthquake is believed to be the most devastating natural disaster to hit a Catholic diocese, said Bishop Joseph Lafontant. With the death of the archbishop and vicar general of Port-au-Prince, Lafontant is now one of the church's top leaders in Haiti.

``As for material things -- we can rebuild,'' he said last week during a break from a daylong meeting with surviving priests. ``In lives, the archdiocese suffered.''

In a country where the government has always struggled to provide even the most basic services, the Catholic Church has always been a lifeline -- it runs schools, hospitals, orphanages and charities.

``In Haiti, the church is like a central living womb for the community,'' said the Rev. Reginald Jean-Mary of Miami's Notre Dame d'Haiti church, who has been conducting prayers and officiating funerals at Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Church in Port-au-Prince..More>>

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