1184 Bishop St, Honolulu, HI 96813
Phone: (808) 585-3300 Fax: (808) 545-5063
Roman Catholics

Roman Catholic Church in the state of hawaii

Diocese of Honolulu

Witness to Jesus

News & Events

News & Events

Help me find...

News Articles

Rallying to Respond to the Crisis in Haiti

May 20, 2024

From the Office for Social Ministry

I am thinking of Haiti, where a state of emergency is in force and the population is desperate because of the collapse of the health system, the shortage of food, and the violence that drives people to flee.” Pope Francis 4/28/2024

In his continual prayers for all those in war-torn countries around the world, Pope Francis recently added a heartfelt appeal for the long-suffering people of Haiti who are currently experiencing increasing deadly chaos. After decades of severe economic hardships, the assassination of their president has led to uncontrolled  gang violence currently holding the country hostage and crippling this small Caribbean nation. Our Holy Father is urging everyone to pray and contribute whatever they can to bring back peace and reconciliation in Haiti. Now that a new governmental body has been sworn in, Pope Francis has offered this prayer intention: “We entrust to the Lord the work of the new Transitional Presidential Council that took office last Thursday in Port au Prince, so that with the renewed support of the international community, it may lead the country to achieve the peace and stability it so badly needs.”

This call for international support aligns with the Pope Francis’s encyclical Fratelli Tutti (Brothers and Sisters All) which encourages a preferential love for those in greatest need. Fratelli Tutti suggests a Good Samaritan approach, “A Better Kind of Politics” in the service of the common good; a “politics of love” in which “political charity” helps the suffering while addressing the root causes of that pain.

In efforts to live out the principles of Fratelli Tutti and stand in solidarity with all those suffering such painful poverty and devastating violence, Catholics across the Americas are rallying to heed the Pope’s call to respond to crises in Haiti. On May 4th the International Academy of Catholic Leaders (ALC) held an online “Colloquia on the Current Haiti Crisis.” The virtual event featured a talk story session with 3 members of the recently appointed Haitian Transitional Presidential Council (TPC), 3 Haitian Bishops, 3 former Latin American presidents, and 3 Vatican Cardinals. Participants from 39 countries joined the session, which began with a prayer by Sr. Lilian Franco reflecting on the Gospel message of unity and peace as articulated in Fratelli Tutti. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, emphasized the need for international support for Haiti’s humanitarian and security crises and the efforts of the TPC to restore democracy. Former presidents from Chile, Costa Rica, and Mexico highlighted the resilience of the Haitian people and the need for international aid to restore law and order, provide essential services, and support a new government. The current Vatican Nuncio to the USA (who is also a former Nuncio to Haiti) Cardinal Christophe Pierre, and Cardinal Carlos Osoro, a member of the Pontifical Council for Latin America, echoed these calls for committed international solidarity with the Haitian people plus suggested Fratelli Tutti could help the country of Haiti “begin anew.” 

The Talk Story testimonies from Haitian participants were particularly moving. Haitian Bishop Pierre Dumas, (who is still recovering from severe burns from an explosion of gang-related violence), spoke from his hospital bed, pleading for a shift in international relations with Haiti based on Fratelli Tutti principles of fellowship. Haitian Bishop Andre Piere repeated the call for international security and humanitarian support, while Bishop Jacque Fabre of Charleston, South Carolina, (recently ordained the first Haitian Bishop in the USA), stressed the importance of stopping the flow of arms to Haiti from the USA and taking concrete steps to develop a more stable political system in Haiti. The 3 Haitian TPC members offered practical recommendations to promote a more peaceful and stable future for the Haitian people. Paul Antonio from the University of Haiti emphasized the need for permanent support for the precarious neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince, particularly those severely affected by violence and lack of services, and for aid to both public and private educational institutions that have been abandoned. Leslie Voltaire, a former government minister, advocated for the establishment of a security council to curb the flow of arms, rebuild the police and military, and foster a new class of political leaders with the involvement of Haitians in exile. Regine Abraham highlighted the importance of focusing on the well-being of families and the environment, calling for international investment in critical programs to address constant climatic disasters and for enhanced dialogue and collaboration across Haiti’s civil society—another theme emphasized in Fratelli Tutti’s call for true dialogue to heal deep divisions that cause such destructive violence in our present world.

Pope Francis concludes Fratelli Tutti, with an inspiring Prayer to the Creator which can provide hope for Haiti and all the world. “Lord, Father of our human family, you created all human beings equal in dignity: pour forth into our hearts a fraternal spirit and inspire in us a dream of renewed encounter, dialogue, justice and peace. Move us to create healthier societies and a more dignified world, a world without hunger, poverty, violence, and war. May our hearts be open to all the peoples and nations of the earth. May we recognize the goodness and beauty that you have sown in each of us, and thus forge bonds of unity, common projects, and shared dreams. Amen.” For the whole text of Fratelli Tutti, please seehttps://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20201003_enciclica-fratelli-tutti.html. Mahalo.