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WASHINGTON—Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, expressed “profound sorrow and deepest condolences for the terrible tragedy” in Haiti in a January 21 letter to Archbishop Louis Kébreau of Cap-Haïtien, President of the Haitian bishops. The letter was presented by New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, Chairman of the Board of Catholic Relief Services, at the January 23 funeral of Port-au-Prince Archbishop Joseph Serge Miot, who died in the January 12 earthquake. Archbishop Dolan officially represented the U.S. Bishops at the funeral.
Full text of the letter follows:
Dear Archbishop Kébreau,
On the sad occasion of the Funeral Mass for Archbishop Joseph Serge Miot of Port-au-Prince, I have asked Most Reverend Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York and the Chairman of our Catholic Relief Services, to be present as the representative of the Bishops of the United States. Through him, by means of this letter to you and to the Bishops, priests, religious, faithful and our brothers and sisters in Haiti, I wish to express our profound sorrow and deepest condolences for the terrible tragedy that has struck your beloved country. In a particular way, I offer my prayers and condolences for Archbishop Miot and for the priests, religious men and women, and seminarians who lost their lives. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of those who are still under the rubble.
In the United States, our televisions, computers and newspapers have been filled with images of your unspeakable pain, suffering and loss. Each hour we see the faces of the widows and orphans, and all of those who have lost family and friends and all of their life's possessions. We are reminded of so many who are injured or dying or hungry as a result of the earthquake. In this hour of sorrow, I want you to know that the Church in the United States stands with you. In our prayer, we recall that Jesus too wept before the tomb of one whom he loved. With you, we recall in trust that He is the resurrection and the life, offering Himself to us and calling us to Himself even in our darkest hour.
I know that other organizations, and the Church throughout the world, have also sent you help.
But through the presence of Archbishop Dolan, I wish to convey to the Church and people of Haiti that we too are with you as you struggle to recover. The Church in the United States is committed to doing everything we can so that you may rebuild and renew and begin again your lives of faith and family and service to Haiti. From the first days after the earthquake, our representatives of Catholic Relief Services have labored to bring food, water, medicine and hope. Our Committee for the Church in Latin America is already preparing to assist in the rebuilding of churches and other ecclesial structures that serve as a gathering point for prayer and the sacraments. And to do this, our faithful are gathering a collection in these days, a sign that reaches back to the time of St. Paul to demonstrate how the faithful love one another. We are doing everything we can so that you can see clearly that you are not alone. And we will stay here to help you.
Above all, Archbishop Kébreau, we are praying for you and the people of Haiti. Prayers at Mass and throughout the day are being offered in our homes, our parishes and wherever we are to be found. May you know of God's consolation and of the strength to confront this trial, a strength that comes from Christ our Savior through the loving intercession of His Mother and ours, Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Francis Cardinal George, OMI
Archbishop of Chicago
Keywords: Cardinal Francis George, letter, Haiti, earthquake, President, Haitian bishops, Archbishop Louis Kébreau, Archbishop Joseph Serge Miot, funeral, Archbishop Timothy Dolan, U.S. Bishops, USCCB, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic Relief Services, CRS
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