Franciscan documents

Franciscan bits & pieces picked up by Ted Witham tssf

Hard-pressed but firm in the faith

Reflections on the catastrophic earthquake of 12 January.

Monsignor Jean Zache Duracin

Monsignor Jean Zache Duracin, Bishop of the Episcopal church of Haiti.

“Hard pressed but firm in the faith.”

This cry arises from the heart of Monsignor Jean Zache Duracin, Bishop of the Episcopal Church of Haiti after the evidence of this devastating catastrophe of this Tuesday 12 January in the afternoon; a date which will be engraved for ever in the memory of Haitians and the inhabitants of the whole world.  12 January, about 4:53 in the afternoon, is the beginning of another page in the history of this republic called the “First Black Republic in the world.”

The humanitarian assistance which has been announced for this catastrophe is also historic. The quake has been a hard blow in a country of more than 10 million souls.  Residents have lost everything, their house, and their former lives.  The capital has been transformed into a huge refugee camp.  They desperately need water, food and medication.

“I was almost buried under the roofing of Bishop’s House,” Monsignor Duracin, Bishop of the Episcopal Church of Haiti, told us. “I was two seconds away from the entry door, and I was just able, thanks to the help of the Most High, to escape with my life.  My wife who was inside the house is still in the ZANMI Health Centre, with injuries to her legs which were crushed in the debris of the house. We had just time to drag her from the rubble. Two of my children miraculously got out of the collapsed house. Holy Trinity Cathedral succumbed to this earthquake, magnitude 7.3 on the Richter scale, which has devastated our country: the roof of Saint Cecilia Hall, the only stadium in Haiti, has practically come down on the stage where concerts are held regularly… most of our churches are destroyed; a number of our schools are piles of rock.

St Peter’s College, where I have set up a makeshift tent with my family among about 3000 refugees during the day and many more at night, is fragile, because there is no water or food. Hygiene conditions are precarious with so many young children, nearly 200 children, and the presence of handicapped children from St Vincent school, which sustained irreparable damage, has complicated the life they had developed in an appropriate environment on Paul 6 Street.  A large part of the capital has been completely destroyed.  The National Palace has partly collapsed.  Several Ministry buildings, Parliament, churches, hospitals, hotels, schools and several universities have been destroyed, the University of the Episcopal Church of Haiti among them.  The scene before our eyes is truly sad.

The shock has severely disrupted communications in the country.  The wounded are conveyed to the hospital centres that are still standing.  Holy Cross Hospital is sorting itself out to help the wounded from Leogane.

“I hold out the arms of the diocese to the thousands without shelter, and I offer my prayers,” says the Bishop of the Diocese of Haiti.  “Haiti already had serious difficulties before the earthquake with an extremely poor population, so after the earthquake it will be difficult for us to pull through alone.

“International media are speaking of between 150,000 and 200,000 dead.  There would be 250,000 wounded and a million without shelter, over half of whom are in Port-au-Prince, the capital.  We have all being surprised during the 48 seconds of this deadly tremor.  The UN itself recognizes that this earthquake as a catastrophe without precedent.

“The course of THE HISTORY OF HAITI has changed.

“I want to say THANK YOU to all who have extended a helping hand to us.  What is more, I would like to think that we are at the beginning of a long partnership.  I invite you to accompany us in helping our Haitian brothers and sisters.

Hard pressed, but firm in the faith.”

[From the website of the Diocese of Haiti:

Translation Ted Witham tssf 23 Jan. 10]

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10 thoughts on “Hard-pressed but firm in the faith

  1. Chaplain Deanna Christian on said:

    I pray with you that the world, and especially my own country of the United States, will form long-lasting partnerships with Haiti.

    I pray that God will “comfort all who mourn;
    grant beauty instead of ashes to those who mourn,
    the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
    the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit.

    May the people of Haiti turn to Christ so that they may be called “oaks of righteousness,
    the planting of the Lord, 
    that He may be glorified.”

    For God has promised His people that:
    “They shall build up the ancient ruins;
    they shall raise up the former devastations;
    they shall repair the ruined cities,
    the devastations of many generations.”

    Peace and comfort, stability and restoration be to Haiti.

  2. I support 2 children In Haiti, one I have supported for 4 years and the other for only a just over a year, my heart goes out to these people, and they have been in my prayers, my greatest prayer is that they would come to know God. Our church is sending in missions and we through our church will support these devastated people. And we will continue to pray.

  3. Andrea on said:

    That’s truly a blessing to hear that through it all you ad Chrisitians have stepped up and out on faith in God when you all could be miserable and hopeless. God of all peace and joy bless you is my prayer. I love you brothers and sisters, not because of our skin color, buy because we are all God’s children.

    Again I love you all!!-Amen


  4. Takeeton on said:

    I pray for all of you who were involved in this devastating event and those who have lost loved ones. I pray that GOD our Savior comforts you. Even though all this has happened He is still performing miracles. God is love and my prayers are with you all

  5. Gbemisola on said:

    My prayer is that God the Comforter will comfort all that mourns and the Nation as a whole.

  6. May our Good God strenthen, direct and bless you all at this difficult time. My heart aches at Haitis predicament and I pray fervently.

  7. Dear LORD GOD our Heavenly FATHER I pray that YOU may help all of YOUR children in Haiti, that YOU may help and protect them through all of their struggles that they will be facing throughout the days, weeks, months, and years to come. Thank YOU LORD for bringing us all together in this time in need, so that that we may help our Haitian brother and sisters. We thank, praise, and love YOU LORD GOD our Almighty Heavenly FATHER above all and above everything. GOD bless all. IN JESUS’S name, Amen.

  8. lni John Johnson on said:

    Matt:5-4,says.Blessed are they that mourn,for they shall be comforted.l pray that they shall be of good comfort & the peace that transcends human understanding shall rest upon those that are mourning.

  9. lyndall on said:

    ihave prayed for you all and will continue to do so may god hear our prayers thinking of you all xoxo

  10. GUKTUR JULCIT J on said:


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