WASHINGTON — Reports out of Haiti in the aftermath of the Aug. 14 earthquake show immense damage and have resulted in a substantial loss of life. Following in its wake, Tropical Storm Grace added to the devastation and long-standing civil unrest. The people of Haiti are likely to see ongoing hardship in the weeks ahead as they begin recovery and rebuilding efforts. Moreover, many parish churches, chapels, schools and clinics were devastated which will impact faith communities for years. In response, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has sent a letter to all U.S. bishops asking them to consider taking up a voluntary special collection in their dioceses for the Bishops Emergency Disaster Fund.
The funds collected for this special appeal will be used to support the pastoral and reconstruction needs of the Church as well as the efforts of Catholic Relief Services and/or Catholic Charities USA, the official relief agencies of the U.S. Catholic Church, as they and their local agencies respond to immediate emergency needs and aid in long-term rebuilding and recovery efforts. The funds will be used in response to the earthquake and Tropical Storm Grace calamities in Haiti and any other disasters that occur and will be distributed where they are most needed. However, if such purpose(s) become unnecessary, impractical or impossible to fill, the USCCB may use such contributions for other emergency disaster relief where it is most needed as determined by the Committee on National Collections using its emergency response protocol.
In his appeal, Archbishop Gomez acknowledged that many of the dioceses in the United States continue to be impacted financially by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic but also recognized the generosity of the faithful and their deep care for those in need as confidence in their prayerful consideration and response to this effort.
In addition to the appeal being made by Archbishop Gomez, the Committee on National Collections’ Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America has approved $10,000 grants to three dioceses in Haiti that have been most heavily impacted. Additionally, Catholic Relief Services is on the ground in Haiti responding to immediate humanitarian needs and is expected to be there through the extensive recovery period.
For more information on how you can help Haiti, please visit: https://www.dioceseofprovidence.org/news/supporting-our-sisters-and-brothers-in-need-in-haiti.