I have just returned from my South Florida vacation. Of course the big news in south Florida is the devastation of Haiti. Many of the hotel workers where I stayed are Haitian. There certainly was a somber mood.
Miami has a very large Haitian community. Mass was offered at the Cathedral. Family members here are rightly fearful of what has happened to their loved ones in Haiti. Please continue to pray for everyone involved.
As Catholics, the best way to channel our money to help with the ongoing relief is through Catholic Relief Services.
This weekend, my parish, St. Joseph Church in Macon will make an announcement that our second collection for the weekend of January 23/24 will be for Haiti relief. This will give our parishioners time to prayerfully consider what they will give. However, this doesn't stop anyone from giving directly to Catholic Relief Services.
We live in a world that is not our true home and often is not friendly towards us. If old age or disease do not take us, accident, natural disasters and other unforeseen events will. All we can do is to pray for a happy death. A happy death is dying a practicing Christian after having lived a repentant life, striving to follow Jesus by carrying our cross in union with Him. No matter how gruesome our death might be, it is happy when we have participated in God's gifts of faith, hope and love during the short time of our earthly pilgrimage.
It is hard not to question God when people who have suffered so much, are made to suffer even more in the face of a devastating natural disaster such as an earthquake. For now, it is best to focus on the love that is being poured out on Haiti through the prayers of so many, the actual assistance that is taking place and the many small miracles that are occurring even as we read. We recognize that many are trapped in the most desperate of situations and we pray that God will ease their suffering and carry them with His abiding grace to peace, healing and comfort.
God bless Haiti and the Haitian people at this most horrible time.
Prayers are certainly in order, but any money sent is money down a rat hole. Haiti has no government to speak of, but is run by gang factions and para-military rabble. They have squandered any aid that has ever been sent, clear-cut the country to make charcoal, and they mostly hate us. Christian compassion does not require uncritical responses to just any demand. Sorry.
Catholic Relief Services has been in Haiti a very long time. Yes there is corruption in Haiti on a very significant level, with money focused on a very small minority of leaders while the masses suffer. However, now is not the time to forsake the masses who are suffering so greatly. Catholic Relief Services does not give money to the government but aid to those most in need. Yes, send money to them and send it now, let's put behind us the politics that ignores those most in need.
Fr. Allan McDonald
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