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The Pope appeals for a future for Haiti

· Messages of Benedict XVI to the President of the Republic and the President of the Bishops' Conference of Haiti ·

The Holy Father addressed Messages to H.E. Mr René Préval, President of the Republic of Haiti, and to Archbishop Louis Kébreau of Cap-Haïtien, President of the Bishops' Conference of Haiti, conveying his profound sorrow for the violent earthquake that hit Haiti on 12 January, leaving more than 150,000 victims dead and at least 250,000 homeless. In his Messages, Benedict xvi expresses his spiritual closeness to the survivors and assures them of his fervent prayers, and of the Church's intention to “remain beside the people sorely tried by this accident”, doing her utmost to contribute to the country's reconstruction. He also affirms his appreciation for the dedication of all those who are putting their own lives at risk to come to Haiti's aid. The following is a translation of the Pope's Messages to the President of the Republic and the President of the Bishops' Conference, which were written in French and dated 16 January 2010.


To H.E. Mr René Préva
President of the Republic of Haiti

Having learned with deep distress of the earthquake that has just tragically hit your beloved country, I wish to assure you, Your Excellency, of my profound sympathy and fervent prayer for all the people affected by this dreadful disaster. I ask God to welcome into the peace of his Kingdom all those who have lost their lives in the earthquake and to comfort their families which, in many cases, have been unable to give a dignified burial to their loved ones who they have lost.

I also pray that the spirit of solidarity may dwell in all hearts and that calm may prevail in the streets, so that the generous aid arriving from the various countries may bring relief to all, and that those who today lack everything may feel the comfort of knowing that the whole of the international community is taking action to help them.

I warmly appreciate the commitment of all those, Haitians and foreigners who, sometimes at the risk of their own lives, are doing their utmost to seek and rescue the survivors and I thank them with all my heart. I would like to assure you, Your Excellency, that through her institutions and quite apart from the deep emotion that has been aroused, the Catholic Church will stand beside the people sorely tried by this calamity and, as far as she is able, she will help to give them the chance of a brighter future.

As a pledge of affection for all, I warmly grant the whole population of Haiti, undergoing this ordeal, a special Apostolic Blessing.

From the Vatican, 16 January 2010

Archbishop Louis Kébreau
of Cap-Haïtien, President of the
Bishops' Conference of Haiti

Having learned with extreme sorrow of the earthquake that has just severely hit the country's capital, I wish to assure you, as well as all the faithful of the Church in Haiti of my deep spiritual closeness and my fervent prayer for all those affected by this disaster. I ask God to welcome into the peace of his Kingdom all who have died in the earthquake, and especially Archbishop Serge Miot of Port-au-Prince, who has shared in the plight of so many of his faithful, including priests, consecrated persons and seminarians. In these dark hours, I invoke Our Lady of Perpetual Help so that she may be a tender Mother who knows how to direct hearts in order that solidarity will prevail over loneliness and the each-for-himself approach.

I acknowledge the extremely rapid mobilization of the international community, unanimously moved by the lot of the Haitians, and likewise that of the whole Church which through her institutions will not fail to make her contribution to the emergency aid and to the patient rebuilding of the devastated areas.

As a pledge of affection and spiritual comfort, I wholeheartedly impart a special Apostolic Blessing to all the pastors and faithful of the Church in Haiti who are living through this ordeal.

From the Vatican, 16 January 2010

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