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.