«That all may be one» (Jn. 17,21)
We were born for these words, for unity, to give a contribution to its realization in the world. Chiara Lubich
|Publications and Media|
|Websites in the world|
|New City Press|
|Written by Emilie Christy|
|Sunday, January 31, 2010|
“We are still trying to find those who are lost and care for the wounded,” wrote Sr. Marie Thé from Carice, Haiti, “but we have to think of the future, tomorrow and the days after. Many families are poor and we need to find solutions for the students. We are experiencing trouble on every side, but are not crushed; we trust in God who loves us immensely. Our people will not die; it will live.”
Many people left the capital city to find help in the north of the country, near the border with the Dominican Republic. “They arrived with nothing, having lost all they had, not knowing where to go and not having eaten for several days,” Wilfrid Joachin, Focolare local coordinator in Mont-Organisé, a city in the north, told us. “It was the same story in other cities. The whole country is devastated. Almost every family here has lost one or more of its members in the earthquake because many people from the villages relocate to the capital Port-au-Prince either for studies or for work. As a consequence of the destruction there, everybody tried to get out and go to the countryside.” The children involved in the Focolare international Adoptions-at-a-Distance program are all safe, Joachin said. “We felt strong tremors, but there was no damage.”
Putting aside years of cultural prejudice and animosity between the two countries in the island, the Dominican Republic immediately opened its borders to receive injured Haitians into its hospitals, while many Dominicans traveled to Haiti to offer help. Countless planes arrived in Santo Domingo with aid and specialized personnel, who then went on to Haiti by ground transportation. These acts of solidarity were widely covered by the local media, calling attention to this explosion of sharing. Many young people have joined the rescue teams and aid missions.
“Perhaps God wants us to wake up so that we can look at his people, our brothers and sisters who live next to us,” Bishop Francisco Ozoria, President of the Haitian Pastoral Commission in the Dominican Republic, wrote. “Maybe God wanted to call attention to the world, especially the developed countries, so that they may open their hands and help this small country to come out of its extreme poverty. God makes life spring forth from the ruins—new life will rise for the Haitian people through solidarity of all peoples.”
“Few like us, who have gone through an earthquake, can understand what you are going through,” the Abruzzo community of L’Aquila, Italy wrote to the Haitian community. “We tell you with all our heart: trust in the love of God and in your brothers and sisters. Everything has crumbled. Even Jesus on the cross, who felt forsaken by the Father, believed in his love and re-abandoned himself totally to him. Chiara Lubich has taught us to find our answers in Jesus Forsaken. Know that we, like the rest of the world, are with you. We will not leave you alone in your need, especially those material ones, presently the most urgent.”
The answer from Haiti has a message for everyone. “God does not take into consideration if a country is big or small,” wrote Joachin. “God considers the world. This comforting letter tells us that even if we are in darkness, even if our country is poor, there are many who live solidarity. I am a witness that God is very close to us. We have to entrust our life to him, our work, our family, our country, and even the world, so that he can be always among us. Today, like every Saturday, we met in Savanette with 130 young people who try to live the spirituality of unity. We then split into 4 workgroup to share, provide services and visit the sick. Please share this message, telling everyone that we must always live for unity.”
The Focolare community in Mont-Organisé decided to build a welcoming center for families on a piece of land which was given to them years ago. In a few days after the earthquake the US$47,000 needed to provide housing for twenty families has been already received. In the meantime, they are organizing a distribution center for clothing, food and medical help. Aid is channeled through the Focolare communities in the Dominican Republic, especially those closer to Haiti.
Doctor Modesto Herrera, a Focolare member, along with other 150 doctors, nurses and volunteers, left the Dominican city of La Romana at midnight by bus, reaching Port-au-Prince at noon. They were Dominicans, Americans and Haitians going to Haiti for 5 days. “People were waiting for us at an Evangelical Church, which we used for our accommodations. Some of us assisted in the shelters, while others worked in the hospitals. We cared for 300 people a day. The most beautiful thing was building relationships with them. ”
Solidarity springs forth from every country, generously responding to the plight of our brothers and sisters in Haiti.
With Maria Dalgarno and Maritza Vasquez
For contributions: In Canada, send checks payable to "Focolare Movement,” Attn: Haiti Disaster, c/o 16 Grantbrook Avenue, Toronto, ON M2R 2E7. In the United States, send checks payable to "New Humanity," Attn: Help for Haitians, P.O. Box 11791, New Brunswick, NJ 08906.