Feb 24 - USCCB Subcommittee On Church in Latin America Creates Haiti Advisory Group*


DATE: February 24, 2010
FROM: Mar Muñoz-Visoso
O: 202-541-3202
M: 301-646-8616

USCCB Subcommittee On Church in Latin America Creates Haiti Advisory Group
Group to visit Haiti March 1-3

WASHINGTON—As part of the ongoing response to the devastating earthquake in Haiti, Archbishop José H. Gomez of San Antonio, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America, has created a Haiti Advisory Group to help assess the impact on the local Church. Haiti was hit by a 7.0 earthquake on January 12.

Archbishop Gomez, who will chair the advisory group, will be joined by Cardinal Seán O’Malley, O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop of Boston, Bishop Thomas Wenski of Orlando, and Bishop Guy Sansaricq, Auxiliary Bishop of Brooklyn and the only Haitian-American bishop in the United States.

Several members of the group will visit Haiti March 1-3 to begin assessing the damage to the Church and to identify how the Subcommittee can assist.

“The visit by the Advisory Group of bishops will help begin an assessment and enable us to advise the Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America on the eventual distribution of special collection funds,” Archbishop Gomez explained.  “The purpose in setting up a special advisory group is to ensure that we can remain focused on the long term development needs of the Church in Haiti. The bishops will call upon other experts to help them in this task.”

Looking ahead to the visit, Archbishop Gomez said: “Immediately after the quake hit, the Bishops called for special prayer services and vigils. In addition, they asked all dioceses to take up a special collection for immediate emergency needs, long term rebuilding needs, and for the pastoral and reconstruction needs of the Church in Haiti. Only a few weeks later, one hundred ten U.S. dioceses have sent nearly $30 million to a special Haiti Relief Collection fund.  Money from parishes and dioceses continues to come in.”

Cardinal O’Malley noted the ongoing concern of U.S. Catholics for the Church and the people in Haiti.

“The worldwide response to help Haiti recover from this disaster has been unprecedented. The Catholic response in particular is a profound example of stewardship and the universal bonds that unite the Church. In traveling to Haiti, we will express the ongoing concern of all those Catholics who have reached out to Haiti in prayer and material support.”

Bishop Sansaricq reflected on the upcoming visit to his native Haiti.

“We’ve all been horrified by the images of such destruction, and yet, as a Haitian-American, I am deeply touched by the outpouring of love and support to our brothers and sisters in need,” Bishop Sansaricq said.

For more information on how the USCCB is reaching out to the Church in Haiti, visit www.usccb.org/haiti or www.usccb.org/latinamerica.