CHARLESTON—The Diocese of Charleston will take up a special collection this weekend to assist the people of Haiti after a magnitude 7.0 earthquake hit 10 miles southwest of Port-au-Prince on Jan. 12.
“Our church mourns the terrible suffering of our brothers and sisters in Haiti,” Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone wrote in a memo to pastors. “Our faith compels us to pray for and reach out to our brothers and sisters in their time of suffering.”
The quake occurred at 4:53 p.m. Eastern time and was followed by two aftershocks, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It devastated Port-au-Prince which is the most densely populated area of the primarily Catholic nation. It is unknown how many lives were lost because of damage to communication services but wire reports indicate thousands have died, including Archbishop Joseph Serge Miot.
Proceeds from the Haitian Relief collection in South Carolina will support the efforts of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Relief Services, the official international humanitarian agency of the church in the United States.
Catholic Relief Services announced Jan. 13 that it has committed $5 million for emergency supplies and is gearing for a full-scale emergency response.
CRS Country Representative Karel Zelenka described Port-au-Prince as “covered with a plume of dust from damaged buildings,” according to a press release.
“I’ve been in earthquakes before, but I’ve never felt anything like this,” Zelenka said by phone.”This was a major hit. And it was direct. It is a disaster of the century. We should be prepared for thousands and thousands of dead and injured.”
Individuals who wish to contribute may send a donation made out to the Diocese of Charleston, with a memo indicating Haiti Relief, to:
c/o Chancery West
1662 Ingram Road
Charleston, SC 29407
All monies will be sent to the Catholic Relief Services for Haitian assistance.