Photo: Courtesy of the American Red Cross
By Fr. Joseph, MIC (Jan 14, 2010)
The Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception have joined the Holy Father and Church and government leaders from around the world in urging people to come to the aid of the people of Haiti, the Caribbean nation devastated by an earthquake on Tuesday, Jan. 12.
While relief efforts continued, a strong aftershock hit Haiti on Wednesday, Jan. 20. The aftershock had a magnitude of 6.1, and further complicated relief efforts.
"This is a tragedy of massive proportions," said Fr. Kazimierz Chwalek, MIC, director of Evangelization and Development for the Marians, based on Eden Hill in Stockbridge, Mass. "We ask people to pray — particularly to pray the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy for those trapped in rubble who cannot yet be reached — and to contribute whatever financial assistance you can to these relief efforts. While the immediate financial needs are urgent, it's important we remember that these needs will be ongoing in the months and possibly years ahead."
The Marians have set up a means by which people can send financial support to the Haitian relief efforts. Please visit our special Haiti relief page.
One-hundred percent of all donations will be sent to Catholic Relief Services, the international relief agency based in Baltimore, Md., that has mobilized an immediate aid response to Haiti in the form of food and supplies.
Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive said on Wednesday, Jan. 13, the death toll could reach ''well over 100,000." Among the dead is the Archbishop of Port-au-Prince, Most Rev. Joseph Serge Miot, 61.
On Tuesday, Pope Benedict XVI urged "everyone to join my prayers to the Lord for the victims of this catastrophe and for those who mourn their loss," the news agency Zenit reported. The Holy Father continued, "I give assurances of my spiritual closeness to people who have lost their homes and to everyone who, in various ways, has been affected by this terrible calamity, imploring God to bring them consolation and relief in their suffering.
"I appeal to the generosity of all people so that ... our brothers and sisters who are experiencing a moment of need and suffering may not lack our concrete solidarity and the effective support of the international community," he said.
Centered less than 10 miles from Port-au-Prince, the country's capital and most densely populated region, the earthquake measured 7.0 on the Richter scale.
Pray the Chaplet
Marie Romagnano, RN, founder of Healthcare Professionals for Divine Mercy, an apostolate of the Marians, echoed the need for a merciful response. Financial assistance will be crucial, she said, but the most immediate need is prayer.
"The Chaplet of The Divine Mercy is the most appropriate prayer that can be offered for victims who may not otherwise be rescued or able to be assisted," she said. "The chaplet, given to us by Jesus to be used especially for the dying, truly becomes their last hope of salvation, as declared by our Lord, and a means of hope and consolation for those related to them."
Indeed, in a series of revelations to St. Maria Faustina Kowalska in the 1930s, Christ said:
Encourage souls to say the chaplet, which I have given you. ... When they say this chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person, not as the just Judge but as the Merciful Savior (Diary of St. Faustina, 1541).