When the earthquake in Haiti first happened on Tuesday night, I knew I’d write about it on Wednesday. A friend said to me, I guess you’ll be writing about Haiti all week. But I thought to myself, well, that will never fly. As Americans, we’re conditioned to just move on and I didn’t want to feel like I was dwelling on Haiti, because even tragedies get to be old news. It’s so .. over.
Except of course, it’s not. What happened in Haiti is so immense and catastrophic and destabilizing that it’s like the aftermath of Katrina. You can’t even believe the photos you see or the stories you hear. The blank and grief-blasted face of a father holding his baby. The hillsides of homes, now rubble. The sobs of a mother outside a home where god knows what happened. The last thing that seems appropriate is to move on.[
An American girl who was in Haiti working in an orphanage got out – but the friend who brought her there is still missing inside. A Haitian school collapsed, trapping a man under a truck with one foot of space; he was freed. The Archbishop of Port au Prince, Joseph Miot, was crushed to death in the rubble. He belonged
to the Saint Jacques order of missionary priests, founded in 1951, and was a philosophy professor at the Port-au-Prince seminary where he founded an association to help the poor. One of the major projects of the Saint Jacques order was the Caritas Centre in the Saint Antoine neighborhood, a facility for the assistance and reintegration of street children. Although the Centre was devastated by the earthquake, by some miracle, all the youngsters survived.
Caritas is a global movement made up of 162 nation members devoted to reducing poverty and campaigning for social justice around the world. Inspired by the example of Christian faith and Catholic Social Teaching, Caritas members work for change, and they make up the biggest network of Catholic charities in the world. Because Caritas is on the ground and already well-integrated into the lifeblood of Haiti, and because I am Catholic and the majority of Haitians are Catholic, I am giving $100 today to Caritas. www.caritas.org
p.s. I am so moved by the outpouring of concern, money and compassion for Haiti globally, but especially by Americans. I’ve heard from so many friends what they’re doing to help, and it’s a great tribute to this country how we eagerly step up to give when people around the world are suffering.