MattAndJojang's Blog

God. Life. Spirituality.

Relatives of Haiti Victims Pray

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MIAMI — Martine Jeudi held photos of her aunt and other relatives in her hand at a Miami church Jan. 13 as she prayed for victims of the magnitude 7 earthquake that struck Haiti Jan. 12 and devastated areas of Port-au-Prince, the capital.

“My aunt was killed,” said Jeudi, 36, who came from Hollywood to attend a memorial prayer service at Notre Dame D’Haiti Church. “My other relatives are missing. The building (where they lived) was destroyed.”

She was one of hundreds of Haitian-Americans whose relatives were killed or missing in Haiti.

Fr. Reginald Jean-Mary, pastor, called the earthquake the darkest moment in that country’s history.

“Nobody foresaw this,” he said in impassioned remarks at the service. “God and nature surprised us. God reminded us that something must be done. Haiti needs more than food and water. We need substantial change in Haiti.”

Jean-Mary told the congregation to make a commitment to what is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

“I don’t want you to come to church and cry,” he said. “I want you to make a commitment so that Haiti can stand on its feet. Today, many of you are wondering where your loved ones are in Haiti. But, how many times did you contact them? You know how hard life is in Haiti.”

Jean-Mary said that the death of their fellow brothers and sisters was not a defeat.

“The light of God will continue to shine on Haiti,” he said. “We are here to show our solidarity and our commitment to Haiti. We are here to be a light in the darkness.”

The emotional aftershocks of the quake were being felt by south Florida’s large community of Haitian immigrants, who anxiously waited to hear about the fate of loved ones.

Marie Claire Kernizan was talking to her husband in Port-au-Prince when the earthquake hit.

“He told me, ‘Oh, oh, oh, oh,’ and after that, no communication,” said the secretary at St. Mary Cathedral School in Miami.

Seven hours later, she managed to speak with him for about three minutes on his cell phone, before communications were cut off again.

“It’s a miracle,” said Kernizan, who unlike many others in south Florida, knew her husband was all right even though their house was “a little bit damaged.”

But “I haven’t heard from my mother and my brother who live in Petionville,” Kernizan added. Petionville is a suburb built on the hills above the Haitian capital.

At St. Mary Cathedral School, most of the 380 students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade are of Haitian descent. They gathered for Mass Jan. 13 to pray for strength, to pray for their loved ones, and to pray for those who will be helping with rescue and relief efforts.

“Almost every child has relatives over there,” said Sister Jane Stoecker, a Sister of St. Joseph and the school’s principal. “It’s been very sad. They can’t reach them.”

“People are very scared. That’s very natural,” said Msgr. Terence Hogan, rector of the cathedral.

Using language they could understand, he told the schoolchildren that “nature sometimes brings earthquakes” and if the earthquake is really big “the walls cannot stand up” and people are hurt or killed.

“Many of your relatives, many of your friends are going to suffer greatly,” Hogan said. But he reminded the children that no matter what happens here on earth, “Jesus is right here in our midst. He is our hope and he is our salvation.”

He urged them to do two things: Pray for the victims and their rescuers, and “be very generous” when donations are called for. “Whatever it is you have to give, whether it’s a little bit of money or a jacket, be ready to do that.”

Speaking after Mass, Hogan told the Florida Catholic, Miami’s archdiocesan newspaper, that he had no doubt Miami’s Haitian community would come together to help the earthquake victims.

“They’re very willing to help one another. That’s one of the beautiful things about the Haitian community,” he said.

He added that he could see, in the faces of the older children, “that they were concerned. They’re wondering about their relatives. They don’t know what’s happening.”



Let us keep the victims of the earthquake in Haiti in our thoughts and prayers. Also, let us do what we can to help them.

Written by MattAndJojang

January 16, 2010 at 5:58 pm

7 Responses

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  1. Thank you for posting this. When a tragedy is of this scale, I think print media and still photographs do a better job of communicating the reality. Television is too fast – things are too much of a blur and you lose the sense that each of the injured, dying and dead is an individual.

    We can’t be there, but we can look, listen and pray.


    January 18, 2010 at 12:45 am

  2. My heart went out to the people of Haiti as soon as news of what happenned to them came in.

    A few months ago 2 super typhoons hit our country. Property was destroyed, lives were lost and the victims are just starting to rebuild their lives.

    Although what happened to Haiti is much worse than what happened to us here (By the way, we and our friends were personally affected by these typhoons), we know how they feel.

    Yes, let us pray for them and do what we can to help them.

    God bless!



    January 18, 2010 at 4:55 pm

  3. Have you ever thought of adding additional videos to your blog to keep the visitors more involved? I just read through the whole page and it was quite nice but since I am more of a visual learner, I find videos to be very helpful. I love what you guys are always coming up with. Keep up the excellent work. I will revisit your website on the regular for some of the latest post.

    Jina Cwiakala

    January 20, 2010 at 3:36 am

  4. Thank you, Jina, for reading our blog.

    Although I usually learn and get my information through the written word, I can understand that a lot of people learn in different ways (In your case, you’re a visual learner). We’ll try to post videos to supplement the material that we share here in our blog whenever that’s possible.

    I hope you’ll enjoy our future posts.



    January 20, 2010 at 4:37 pm

  5. You blog entry definitely was one of the high points of my Saturday. I was on MSN searching for something totally unrelated when the post caught my attention. I’m glad I took the time to read your blog! Feel free to comment on my blog at Dog Food Secrets Review!

    Brian Smialowski

    February 3, 2010 at 10:38 am

  6. hi brod. Matthew and sis jojang! I just read this column and very new in FB, The truth i learn to use this when i came here in London. The earthquake in Haiti reminded of the Baguio’s 1990 devastating quake. I never stop praying for the people of Haiti for them to recover and still find God’s glory in their midst. Thank you so much for this column. God bless

    flor(baby chan)flor.chan

    April 12, 2010 at 5:21 am

  7. Hi, Sister Baby! We’re glad to hear from you. I hope you will continue reading our blog… Yes, what happened to Haiti was a great tragedy. We hope and pray that the people of Haiti will recover from this great devastation… Keep in touch. God bless!


    April 12, 2010 at 11:21 am

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