International News

Archbishop Wenski to Deliver Mass Tonight to Commemorate One Year Anniversary of Deadly Haiti Earthquake

At 4:53 p.m. this afternoon, the church bells of St. Mary's Cathedral will ring out over Little Haiti and the rest of Miami. Sadly, the occasion won't be a wedding but the remembrance of the deadly 7.0 earthquake that killed 300,000 Haitians exactly one year ago.

As part of the commemoration, Archbishop of Miami Thomas Wenski will deliver a special trilingual mass at the cathedral at 7 p.m. tonight.

In November, we wrote about Wenski's long affiliation with Miami's Haitian community in a feature story on the iconoclastic new archbishop. And although we criticized how his dogmatic stance on condom use harms Miamians, Haitians included, there is little doubt that he cares for his adopted country.

In comments published yesterday, Wenski outlined both the tragedy and hope for a new beginning initially contained in the calamity:

But the goudou-goudou (earthquake) was more than just a natural disaster -- stronger quakes hit Chile and New Zealand in the same year with less destruction and loss of human life. What brought Haiti to its knees was not so much the shifting of its tectonic plates but its grinding poverty. For this reason, one cannot simply rebuild Port-au-Prince the "way it was". For what was, was inherently unsustainable and inhuman...
Since the initial recovery efforts, a cholera outbreak and a violently contested election have hampered already slow reconstruction. And as this week's feature shows, kidnappings are on the rise in major cities like Port-au-Prince.

The Cathedral of St. Mary is located at 7525 NW 2nd Avenue. A day of prayer is also being held at Notre Dame d' Haiti Church at 110 NE 62nd Street.

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Michael E. Miller was a staff writer at Miami New Times for five years. His work for New Times won many national awards, including back-to-back-to-back Sigma Delta Chi medallions. He now covers local enterprise for the Washington Post.