Cornerstone dedicated at first Port-au-Prince church to be rebuilt with funds donated by U.S. Catholics

Architect drawing of the new Sacred Heart Parish in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (CNS)

Architectural drawing of the new Sacred Heart Church in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Church leaders dedicated the cornerstone of the first church to be rebuilt in Haiti’s capital more than three years following the country’s horrific earthquake. Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami, representing the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, was on hand for the ceremony Aug. 2 on the grounds of the iconic Sacred Heart Church in Port-au-Prince. He was joined by Archbishop Guire Poulard of Port-au-Prince and about 1,000 people from the middle-class neighborhood where the church is located.

The $2.5 million project is funded by PROCHE, the Partnership for Church Reconstruction in Haiti. PROCHE is a joint effort among the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Haitian Episcopal Conference, Adveniat, which is the German bishops’ agency for solidarity in Latin America, and the Bishops’ Conference of France to coordinate the reconstruction effort.

The USCCB share of funding comes from a pot of $33 million donated by U.S. parishioners in the weeks after the quake. Numerous other church and school projects outside of Port-au-Prince have either been completed or are underway.

Parishioners have raised additional funds to construct and outfit a kitchen in the basement of new building, said Jacques Liautaud, Haiti manager in the bishops’ Office of National Collections.

The church is being built to better withstand storms and even another strong earthquake.

Liautaud said groundbreaking should take place by the end of the year and the church should be ready for liturgy services in about two years.

3 Responses

  1. Please explain to me why our bishops have a “pot” of $33 million while thousands and thousands of Haitians are still living in bed-sheet tents three years after the earthquake. When I made my donation it was to alleviate the needs of the people, not to be held onto for a massive church construction project.

  2. The $33 million is just part of the money collected in the weeks after the disaster. A total of about $80 million was donated by parishioners. The remaining $47 million went to Catholic Relief Services’ programs in Haiti.

  3. Last Sunday a missionary from Haiti was at mass begging for money. He described the unbelievable squalor and shortages of food, safe drinking water, sanitation and anything resembling descent housing. Living among stinking rotting and burning garbage kids are trapping rats to eat. Mothers are feeding their kids “mud pies” in an attempt to satiate their hunger while we spend millions on headquarters for the religious and on grand churches in middle class neighborhoods that the people of Haiti have little or no ownership in. There is something absurd, even blasphemous, about this.

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