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Cor Unum president in Haiti for earthquake anniversary

Port au Prince Cathedral

Port au Prince Cathedral

A year after the earthquake which devastated Haiti on 12 January 2010 leaving 250,000 people dead and more than a million homeless, Benedict XVI has sent Cardinal Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council 'Cor Unum', who will bring a Message from the Pope and 1.2 million dollars in aid for reconstruction projects.

The cardinal arrived in Haiti on Monday,  when he visited a number of religious communities in Leogane: the Sisters of Christ the King whose hospital was destroyed, the 'Petites Soeurs de Sainte-Therese de l'Enfant Jesus' who run a clinic for people suffering from AIDS and tuberculosis, and the "Compagnes de Jesus" who had an old people's home and a school destroyed by the quake. During the course of the day Cardinal Sarah laid the cornerstone of the 'Ecole Notre Dame des Anges'. In the Holy Father's name, he also brought concrete support in the form of donations received following the earthquake: 800,000 US dollars for the rebuilding of schools and 400,000 US dollars for the reconstruction of churches.

On 11 January, the president of Cor Unum, accompanied by Msgr Segundo Tejado, under secretary of the dicastery, met Rene Preval, president of the Republic of Haiti. The cardinal then visited the Parc Acra displaced persons camp where he celebrated Mass. On Wednesday 12 January, Cardinal Sarah will read out the Pope's Message during a Mass to commemorate the first anniversary of the earthquake. He will then meet with bishops and seminarians as well as with directors of Caritas and of international and volunteer organisations.

His final engagement in Haiti will take place on 13 January when he will celebrate Mass in the convent of the 'Paridean' Daughters of Mary who lost fifteen religious in the disaster, while twelve other sisters were seriously injured.

The visit also has the aim of thanking everyone who collaborated in the huge efforts of the emergency period, and of renewing the Church's commitment in the reconstruction, encouraging a new phase of charitable commitment.

Source: VIS