Tag Archives: Haiti

Grace happens in Haiti

Yesterday I posted a brief note on the good work of CRUDEM and encouraging all of us to pray and to consider making a financial gift to help the relief efforts. It seems as though prayer is working and needs are being met. In my email inbox the following note was received and I thought it was a good illustration of the what is being done to aid the Haitian people in this incredible time of need. The author of this post is the president of the hospital foundation, CRUDEM, and a member of the Order of Malta.

seeking help at Hôpital Sacré.jpg

Today thanks to the efforts of many people and the generosity of an anonymous donor, 8 of our seriously ill children ranging in age from 3 to 13 were allowed by the Haitian authorities and UN to leave Haiti for treatment. A private jet from Western Massachusetts landed in Cap Haitian this morning filled with nurses and doctors from Baystate Medical Center and left with 8 children from Hopital Sacre Coeur accompanied by 2 physicians and 2 nurses.

The jet landed 4 hours later at Bradley Airport [Hartford, CT] where there were 6 ambulances waiting. Since it was snowing and in the 20’s the jet pulled into a hanger so the children could be protected. They were carefully carried to stretchers covered in blankets and given stuffed animals to accompany them on their trip to Shriners hospital (5 with serious orthopedic problems), a Boston burn unit (2 with serious burns), Baystate Pediatric intensive care unit (a girl with a fractured pelvis and other fractures).

Our census is around 400 patients despite discharges such as the above miracle. We are still receiving transfer patients from the USS comfort. Our volunteers continue to work 16 to 20 hour days and are an inspiration to watch. My son who just returned was in awe of the Professors of Internal medicine, surgery and Ophthalmology who were changing bandages and caring for patients in the temporary hospital because that was where the need was. Egos and status are put aside and the only focus is on how best to care for our patients. The true volunteer spirit of being willing to do whatever is needed is evident in all of our teams.

Typically we have about 170 volunteers come to 
Hôpital Sacré Coeur each year. Since the earthquake we have had over 250 and will continue to have at least 50 a week for the next 2 months. The list of people wanting to volunteer grows each day. This is proof for all of us that the majority of people are caring and want to help their fellow man. We need to remember this as we read and hear the negative in the media.

Thanks to private donations by individuals, companies and nonprofits such as Americares and Project Hope, we are still receiving the supplies we need to keep the hospital running. Our food shortage has ended thanks to the generosity of Malteser International who is financing the shipment of truckloads of food from the Dominican Republic. God has blessed us in this time of tragedy with the many people who make the Miracles at 
Hôpital Sacré Coeur happen.

Venerable Servant of God Pierre Toussaint, pray for us.
Blessed Gerard, pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.

Rehabilitating our friends in Haiti: the work of CRUDEM

Crudem vol Haiti.jpgI’ve been getting daily updates from the CRUDEM folks in Haiti. I am sure many are keeping current on the efforts of those trying to help the earthquake victims. The stories of the tragedy and the human efforts sustained by God, I am convinced, move the heart.

Financial gifts to an agency is a good thing AND so is prayer. Please consider making a contribution to AVSI, CRS and the Order of Malta is recommended and asking the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary to guide this human process of aiding our Haitian sisters and brothers is crucial. When the earthquake was announced I mentioned asking for the divine mediation of Venerable Servant of God Pierre Toussaint: I renew that request. When you visit the Blessed Sacrament today make a prayer for Haiti!

The crisis continues and so does the humanitarian efforts in the areas of medicine and food outreach to help the citizens of Haiti recover their lives. Human resources, budgets and food supplies are stretched thin, for obvious reasons. Many, many acts of kindnesses have be demonstrated. Keep yourself engaged by visiting CRUDEM.

At the second earthquake in Haiti…

Out of the depths I cry, Lord,
O Lord, please hear my call!
Let your ears be attentive;
I beg for mercy, Lord.
If you marked our offenses,
O Lord, who then could stand?
But you grant us forgiveness—
Therefore we stand in awe.

My hope is in the Lord’s word
And for the Lord I waid,
More eagerly than watchmen
Yearn for the morning light.
Hope in the Lord, O people,
In his unfailing love.
With him is full redemption;
He will redeem his own.


We entrust all to the Lord and to Blessed Virign Mary with the Venerable Servant of God Pierre Toussaint.

I renew the plea for donations to assist the Haitian people. Good organizations are found here.

Disaster in Haiti: where is God in this mess?

We’re all askingthe theodicy question. How could one -even person of solid faith in Providence–not ask why natural evil happens and why God permits it. In a recent interview Zenit asked the head of the Papal Charitable office, Cor Unum, Josef Cardinal Cordes, about the Haitian earthquake. As a first glance at the matter the Cardinal names something important, namely, if you claim to understand God, then your claim has nothing to do with the personal God of Christianity and that the Christian continues to believe God’s goodness in the face of suffering. Hard ideas to grasp. BUT it is a beginning.

ZENIT: How much does people’s faith help them through a catastrophe such as this?

Cardinal Cordes: The faith of the people who have suffered in this disaster will play a critical role in not only
bringing relief to their physical injuries and losses, but also in addressing the spiritual dimension and meaning to be found in such a catastrophe. In visiting disaster areas before and talking with survivors, many express their gratitude to God for sparing their lives and for the generous outpouring of assistance made available to them by family, friends, neighbors, and Churches worldwide. Because of the large Catholic population (80% of Haitians are Catholics), faith and the concrete presence/witness of the Church will have a very important role in the present tragedy.

Our Pontifical Council Cor Unum had already planned that the next meeting of the Populorum Progressio Foundation would take place in Santo Domingo this coming July. The foundation, established by Pope John Paul II, is to help the indigenous peoples of the Latin American and Caribbean countries. In the past, we have given much help to Haiti and we shall continue to do so. Of course, our spiritual closeness is of primary importance. We shall be certain to celebrate the Holy Eucharist on that occasion with bishops coming from different countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Without faith, this tragedy would turn into a complete disaster. That is why it will be essential for our brothers and sisters to pray together; experience Christians worldwide sharing their burdens as members of God’s family; know the compassion of our Holy Father. All these become sources of hope and energy. In His first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est, Pope Benedict invites us to recall “St. Augustine who gives us faith’s answer to our sufferings: ‘Si comprehendis, non est Deus’ — ‘if you understand him, he is not God.'” The Holy Father adds: “Even in their bewilderment and failure to understand the world around them, Christians continue to believe in the ‘goodness and loving kindness of God’ (Titus 3:4)” (No. 38).

ZENIT: Will good come from this tragedy?

Cardinal Cordes: This is a disaster that has caused immense loss of life and suffering. Many years will be needed for the nation to be rebuilt physically and the people to recover in their spirits. For this reason, the Church must remain present even as others move away.

But already we see good rising from the ruins. The eyes of the world are being open to the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, whose long suffering was all but forgotten. This tragedy shows that we depend on each other and must care for our suffering brothers and sisters, just as we did during the Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina. So we must ensure that the necessary assistance now being shown to Haiti continues in the long-term, for example through setting up better local Caritas structures and links with government development
ministries of wealthier countries and help agencies.

We are witnessing and hearing of many selfless and heroic acts made to save lives and to rescue those in danger.  There are still thousands of others, who, coming from all over the world and without any accolades, are dedicating themselves to helping whoever is in need. People are being moved to give of themselves spiritually and materially to help the poor and suffering. In the coming days and weeks, I am convinced that we shall encounter in the midst of this catastrophe many examples of goodness.

Above all, it is with trustworthy hope in the Crucified and Risen Lord Jesus that Christians face the present. In his encyclical Spe Salvi, Pope Benedict speaks of the sufferings of this moment being borne through hope in the future. It is not that Christians know the details of what awaits them, but they know in general terms that their life will not end in emptiness: “Only when the future is certain as a positive reality does it become possible to live the present as well” (Spe Salvi, 2).

Directing Donations to help the Haitian Relief

Three very worthy aid organizations are helping the Haitian people: The Association of Volunteers in International Service (AVSI), Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and the Order of Malta. Monies collected get to those in need!


Many of us will want to help those who are suffering in Haiti – firstly with prayer and secondly with material support.  However, getting the material support to those who need it most is going to be very difficult given the severity of the disaster.  Moreover spurious organizations will most likely spring up and so we, as good stewards of God’s gifts, must be careful about who we send our donations too.  


1. AVSI.jpgAVSI is an international charitable organization started by Communion and Liberation because I know my donation will reach those who need it.  AVSI has been present in Haiti since 1999 working in the agriculture, food security, education and social sectors in neighborhoods around Port au Prince as well as in Les Cayes in the south.  On the occasion of previous emergencies, flooding in 2004 and 2008, AVSI implemented emergency relief operations with international donors.

Any donations to assist AVSI’s emergency program in Haiti can be received by AVSI-USA, it is tax deductible, and will be channeled to AVSI in Haiti.


Information about AVSI and their appeal for Haiti can be found here.


Checks can be made payable to “AVSI-USA” with “Haiti Emergency” in the memo and  sent to AVSI-USA: 529 14th Street NW, Suite 994, Washington, DC 20045.


2. CRS.jpgTremendous work is being done by Catholic Relief Services in Haiti all the time. Please consider giving a tax-deductible contribution to CRS to help them in this endeavor. The Archbishop of New Yorkm, Timothy Dolan, recommends support of CRS.


You can give directly through the CRS Web site here or by typing www.crs.org into your Web browser. Or call 1-800-736-3467.


Order of Malta.jpg3. The Order of Malta-American Association supports three major missions in Haiti. Each of these missions is in desperate need of funds to provide emergency relief and medical assistance and to buy food for starving children, mothers and fathers, and elderly Haitians. The Haitian  people depend upon us for help during this crisis and for the foreseeable future.


The three missions in Haiti associated with the American Association include:

      • Haitian Health Foundation
      • Hôpital Sacré Coeur – Crudem
      • Hope for Haiti

      The Haitian Health Foundation has the facilities and the expertise to manufacture food which will be desperately needed. Hope for Haiti is organizing airlifts and busloads of critical food and medical supplies. Hôpital Sacré Coeur will be a triage connected to Operation Hope. These three Malta organizations are trusted stewards of your generosity.

    • Each of these organizations will guarantee that 100% of the monies will go toward emergency relief for those in need and tax deductible. To donate to the Order of Malta visit here.


      Since I can personally vouch for them, I am sending a donations to AVSI and to the Order of Malta.



      About the author

      Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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