Pray for us & the People of Haiti!
Today on the feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, we remember the people of Haiti in our prayers, outreach and generosity.
Learn more about Haiti by visiting the website of The Haiti Project sponsored by Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Tucson: http://www.omoshaiti.org/
Following is the story of how Our Lady or Perpetual Help became the beloved Patroness of the Haitian people, as told by Joan Martin, Haiti Minister from Our Mother of Sorrows Parish (OMOS). Joan lives and ministers in the Diocese of Port-de-Paix, Haiti. See MAP for location.
"On Monday, Feb. 5, 2007, all of Haiti celebrated a special Mass as a thank you and a re-consecration of the country to Notre Dame du Perpetuel Secours--Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
Fr. Nicolas explained the history at the Mass for the sisters that morning. In about 1861, a disease called veret began to spread in Haiti. I am not sure of the name in English, but Fr. Nico said it was like leprosy--bumps, then holes in the skin, and very contagious. There was no treatment; the doctors and hospitals could do nothing. People began to die by the hundreds, then by the thousands. Every household was affected by the epidemic. There were so many deaths that funerals could not be held. Every town had a mass grave for the victims. ( For those of you who have visited PdPaix, the mass grave was where the airport runway is now.). The estimate was that about 200,000 people died.
In 1882, in desperation, one of the bishops in Port-au-Prince took a picture of Notre Dame du Perpetuel Secours up the mountain, blessed the country in all directions and asked for help.
The epidemic began to recede, and eventually stopped. The country celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving, and Haiti was consecrated to Notre Dame. The year 2007, marked the 125th Anniversary of the consecration. So the bishops decided to re-consecrate the country, to say thank you, and to ask for help with the current crises in the country. At noon, all the churches were supposed to ring their bells in celebration."
This is one of many entries from Notes, Photos, & Reflections from Joan, which can be found online at the OMOS Haiti Project Website. Here you can find more of her stories and photos about day-to-day life in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Joan's notes are informative, touching and often heart-rending.
Today would be a fitting date to spend some time in prayer and soldiarity with the people of Haiti and those who minister to them!