Help Sought for Hurricane Matthew Victims

Jocelyn Thomas In the Headlines


(Photo courtesy of Tout Moun Se Moun)

Two weeks ago, when Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti, it affected a country connected to Holy Name Province in varied ways. Now, the ministries of the Province are doing what they can to help the people of this Caribbean country. Some are holding fundraisers and special collections for specific organizations, and many are directing donations to Catholic Relief Services.

As of Oct. 10, according to the Huffington Post, the death toll was more than 1,000. “The powerful hurricane, the fiercest Caribbean storm in nearly a decade, slammed into Haiti on Tuesday, October 4,  with 145 mile-per-hour (233 kph) winds and torrential rains that left 1.4 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said. A Reuters tally of numbers from local officials showed that 1,000 people were killed by the storm in Haiti, which has a population of about 10 million and is the poorest country in the Americas.”

How to Help
Abraham Joseph, OFM, of our own province, reports that in the south of Haiti, Hurricane Matthew destroyed all the crops, fruit trees and livestock, so food and clean water are urgently needed. In addition, 90 percent of homes in the region, including his father’s, have been completely lost or seriously damaged, so building mission trips will be a great help down the line, after the initial emergency relief,” said Russell Testa, director of the HNP Office for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation.

He continued, “Outside of immediate food, the greatest needs will be shelter, water and hygiene supplies. Along with partners, Catholic Relief Services is responding in some of the most affected areas in southern Haiti.” CRS will distribute blankets, kitchen and hygiene kits and other emergency supplies as needed, as well as monitor potential outbreaks of cholera and other diseases, according to its website.

“Because our brothers and sisters urgently need our support,” the JPIC Office recommended that those who want to help the people of Haiti donate to CRS. Collected funds will help provide critical immediate relief to families in Haiti and other affected countries. Contributions can be made online or by mail.

CRS, a well-rated charity, has established ties in the region and has many on the ground working now,” said Testa. “The organization recently pledged an initial $5 million to Haiti, with more to follow.”

Several HNP parishes have held special collections to help the people of Haiti. They include St. Camillus in Silver Spring, Md., where a neighboring Catholic church has a twinning relationship with St. Pierre Church in Baraderes, Haiti. In Hartford, members of St. Patrick-St Anthony Parish are planning their annual Taste of Haiti event, a dinner “that raises funds and awareness of the needs of our sister parish, St. Genevieve in Zarange,” according to Cidouane Joseph, OFM, who grew up in Haiti.

Less than seven years ago, after a 7.0 earthquake devastated Haiti, people and ministries around the Province helped Haiti residents.

Prayer for Victims
Below is a prayer for the people affected by the hurricane that was shared by Catholic Relief Services and distributed by the JPIC Office:

“May the Lord Give Might to His People”

Compassionate God,

We pray for all those in the Caribbean affected by Hurricane Matthew, and offer the words of the psalmist: “May the Lord give might to his people; may the Lord bless his people with peace!” (Psalm 29:11)

As families seek shelter, we pray: “May the Lord give might to his people; may the Lord bless his people with peace!”

As people search for loved ones, we pray:
“May the Lord give might to his people; may the Lord bless his people with peace!”

As survivors look to the future, we pray:
“May the Lord give might to his people; may the Lord bless his people with peace!”

As rescue workers work tirelessly, we pray: “May the Lord give might to his people; may the Lord bless his people with peace!”

Lord, give might to those who need your strength to carry on. Fill their troubled hearts with your peace and move us with your compassion that we may respond generously to those in need.


Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province.

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