Still recovering from the shock and political chaos resulting from the assassination of its president, Haiti faced an additional crisis on August 13, 2021, when a magnitude 7.2 earthquake hit the country killing approximately 2,200 people and destroying over 50,000 homes. Three days later, Tropical Storm Grace plowed the country with massive winds and heavy rains, which only triggered more suffering and further complicated earthquake relief and recovery efforts.
Rev. Rosemond Marcelin, C.S.C., provincial of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Province, thankfully reports that all of our Holy Cross confreres are safe and well. He notes that most of the devastation and loss of life was centered in the southern part of the country, where the earthquake struck. Most of our Holy Cross religious live and minister in the Port-Au-Prince and Cap-Haïtien regions, both of which escaped harm or any major destruction.
This is not the case, however, with our Holy Cross parish, Saint Marie-Madeleine, in Duchity, which has suffered massive damage to its buildings.
After visiting Duchity on August 25, Fr. Marcelin reports that the parish rectory is inhabitable. The parish pastor, Rev. Emery Menard, C.S.C., along with Br. Rolin Rosemond, C.S.C., are now living in the space that was previously used to welcome visitors. All five chapels within the parish jurisdiction are almost inoperable. The chapel in Tozia has completely collapsed. The schools that serve the population in the parish communities are also badly damaged.
Approximately 20 parishioners have lost their lives and many more are now homeless. As often happens in times of crisis in the country, the people turn to the Church for their needs. Fr. Menard and Br. Rolin are responding to the best of their ability. Unfortunately, some of the families of our Holy Cross confreres who live in the area have experienced similar loss and destruction to their homes.
Fr. Marcelin requests the solidarity of the prayers of the Congregation for his country, the Province, and for the people they serve. The Holy Cross Mission Center is contributing emergency relief funds to the Province in Haiti. If you would like to contribute to these efforts, please visit the Holy Cross Mission Center web page and choose Emergency Relief Fund to help.