News / Americas

In Haiti, Faithful Gather for Mass at Earthquake Shattered Cathedral

Port-au-Prince's faithful attend a somber Mass Sunday at the main cathedral since the devastating earthquake
Port-au-Prince's faithful attend a somber Mass Sunday at the main cathedral since the devastating earthquake

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Drumbeats called the faithful to what is left of Port-au-Prince's main cathedral for a somber Mass Sunday, the first since the devastating earthquake.  The Cathedral, once a symbol of hope for Haiti now lies in ruins and parishioners are vowing to rebuild it again. 

In the shadow of rubble that once was the Cathedral of Port Au Prince, parishioners hold Sunday Mass six days after the earthquake that devastated the city.  During his homily, Father Marie Eric Toussant offered the assembled group of survivors what little comfort he could. "We told them to live with faith and that God is there to help rebuild the country.  And we must be sure of that," he said.

As he preached to the small gathering, across the city, rescuers continued to pull survivors from the rubble.  The stench of death is still heavy in some places, bodies have been dumped along roads and in open spaces.  The Pan American Health Organization says the death toll is estimated at 50,000 to 100,000.  But others say it is far closer to the latter figure. Tensions are running high, and there are reports of looting as people grow more desperate. 

This Sunday, parishioners came to seek solace from the misery around them.  The Cathedral was once a premier landmark of the city.  The light on top of the tallest spire so bright, ships at sea would use it to navigate.

The one constant here is the strength  of Haitian people, who have a never ending desire to survive.  Madame Edouard Thien is a member of the choir, who prayed in the Cathedral every day. "This is a situation we will never get used to," she said.  But what we know is that we are the few that survived, and it is up to us to rebuild the country, so those who died did not die in vein," she told us.

Aid continues to trickle in from all over the world.  But not fast enough to meet the growing need.  Many simply go without, and pray tomorrow will be better than today.

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