Archbishop Gomez heads advisory group looking at Haitian church’s needs

St. Gerard Parish and its elementary school in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, were among dozens of church buildings destroyed or made unusable during the Jan. 12 earthquake. (CNS/Bob Roller)

Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of San Antonio will lead a small team of U.S. bishops to Haiti March 1-3 to assess how the Jan. 12 earthquake affected the local church.

The archbishop, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America, formed a Haiti Advisory Group to focus on the needs of the church in the poor Caribbean nation.

Others joining the advisory group are Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston, Bishop Thomas G. Wenski of Orlando, Fla., and Auxiliary Bishop Guy Sansaricq of Brooklyn, N.Y. Bishop Sansaricq is the only Haitian-American bishop in the U.S.

Archbishop Gomez said in a statement that the visit will help the subcommittee determine how to best meet the needs of Haitians affected by the magnitude 7 earthquake.

The advisory group will focus on long-term development of the Haitian church.

The move is the latest action by the U.S. bishops in their response to what some analysts are now calling the worst natural disaster of recent time. The death toll has climbed to more than 200,000. More than 1 million people remain homeless in the area around the capital of Port-au-Prince.

Soon after the earthquake, the U.S. bishops asked local dioceses to take up a special collection. To date, more than $30 million has been raised in 110 dioceses.

CNS will report on the bishops’ visit next week.
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