June 10, 2015
ST. LOUIS—The solidarity of the Catholic Church in the United States with the Church in Haiti goes beyond the over $100 million contributed by U.S. parishioners after the 2010 earthquake. It includes the development work of CRS, twinning relationships and the supporting of parish, diocesan and national efforts through the Collection for the Church in Latin America, said the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) president and the chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee for the Church in Latin America, in a presentation to the Spring General Assembly. The presentation included an 8-minute video, which will be available online, showing the progress made and covered the work of Catholic Relief Services and many of the Church buildings being rebuilt or already dedicated.
“The money Catholics in the United States gave us in trust has been well spent and we can show a lot for it. The people CRS served especially after the earthquake were comforted and helped. The structures we have built and continue to build are all hurricane and earthquake resistant and are now housing priests, sisters, brothers and serving as places of community building and worship,” said Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle and subcommittee chairman, in his update to the bishops. “We also need to start reflecting on what our next steps will be to continue helping the people and the Church in Haiti. It seems to me that we cannot say, ‘Good job, well done, and that is it!’ This rather is the time to say, ‘what is next? How do we keep this momentum going?’”
“This is an appropriate time for us to receive an update about all the progress that has been made and begin to consider options about how to continue supporting the humanitarian and reconstruction needs of our Haitian brothers and sisters,” said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of USCCB, in remarks before the update given by Bishop Elizondo. A USCCB delegation, including Archbishop Kurtz, visited several rebuilding projects in Haiti and attended the Vatican’s Day of Reflection on Solidarity with Haiti in January.
Bishop Elizondo highlighted the ongoing pastoral work supported in Haiti, stating, as an example, that the Subcommittee had approved a grant to help fund the National Youth Congress to take place in August that will help young people celebrate their faith and find new ways to be missionary disciples.
Emergency relief provided by CRS includes more than 10 million meals provided to over a million people, 10,000 transitional shelters, access to medical treatment for 71,000 patients, and help for 100,000 individuals to resettle in their communities. In addition to having led the rebuilding of the Saint Francis de Sales Hospital in Port-au-Prince, among its ongoing long-term projects, CRS is helping to train doctors, nurses and technicians, and to improve education and literacy among adults and children.
USCCB has awarded “nearly $23 million to 29 reconstruction projects through PROCHE, the partnership for reconstruction established with the Church in Haiti and sister churches. Ten buildings have been completed and there are 35 projects currently in progress. And this has been accomplished—although slowly and with great difficulty at times—with transparency and accountability,” said Bishop Elizondo.
The Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America oversees the Collection for the Church in Latin America and the special collection for the Church in Haiti as part of the USCCB Committee on National Collections. More information on these collections and the support to the Church in Haiti can be found at www.usccb.org/catholic-giving/opportunities-for-giving/latin-america/.
Keywords: Latin America, Haiti, PROCHE, Catholic Relief Services, pastoral, Collection for the Church in Latin America, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB
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MEDIA CONTACT:Norma Montenegro Flynn