Cardinal to Celebrate a Mass of Remembrance on Haitian Quake Anniversary

January 07, 2011

One year ago, on January 12, a massive earthquake rocked Haiti. When the dust settled, 230,000 people were dead, 300,000 were injured and an estimated one million Haitians were left homeless. While donations and support from around the world pour into Haiti, the people continue to reel from the devastation of the earthquake and its aftershocks, as well as hurricanes and a cholera epidemic that followed. Many in Haiti and here in the Washington metropolitan area continue to mourn the loss of loved ones.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, will celebrate a Mass of Remembrance to pray for those who lost their lives in the Haitian earthquake and for the continued rebuilding of the country.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011
4:00 p.m.
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
400 Michigan Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20017

The Ambassador of Haiti, Raymond Joseph, and hundreds of people from the local Haitian community are expected to attend.

The Basilica’s Carillon bells will toll 35 times at the start of Mass to recall the loss of life from the 35-second Haitian earthquake on the anniversary.

Many of the prayers and the music will be in Haitian Creole. The Mass is being organized in conjunction with the local Haitian-American community and the Embassy of Haiti.

The Archdiocese of Washington has had a long relationship with Haiti, including “twinning” relationships between 14 DC-area parishes and ministries or parishes in Haiti. Following the earthquake, local parishioners donated more than $1.3 million for Haitian relief to Catholic Relief Services (CRS). CRS, the international aid organization of the U.S. Catholic Church, has received $190 million total from around the country for Haitian relief and reconstruction; nearly $60 million has been distributed to date, providing over 10 million meals, emergency shelter for 274,000 people, short-term employment for 10,000 people, nearly 70,000 outpatient consultations and other medical support, and, among other projects, the reunification of more than 200 children with their families.

At the time of the 2010 earthquake, Fr. Arsene Jasmin, chaplain for the Haitian Catholic community in the Archdiocese of Washington, was visiting his native country and 10 parishioners from Jesus the Divine Word Parish in Huntingtown, Maryland were volunteering at a Missionaries of Charity orphanage in Port-au-Prince. All were caught in the devastation, but eventually returned safely to Washington.

Masses in Haitian Creole are held in three parishes in the Archdiocese of Washington, including Our Lady of Sorrows in Takoma Park, Shrine of the Sacred Heart in Washington, DC and St. Camillus in Silver Spring.

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