Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I write to you today to request your prayers of support for the Viatorian Community in Haiti as that country continues to struggle with political and social instability. On March 17, 2021, the Latin American Conference of Religious (CLAR) published an extensive statement on the situation in Haiti. The following excerpts are from the statement:
“…we publicly denounce the current situation of violence, insecurity and widespread anarchy that have made the country and above all its capital Port-au-Prince a place where living is becoming impossible. The horror of widespread kidnappings is just a glimpse into the reality to which the Haitian people are being subjected by heavily armed gangs that currently impact so much of day-to-day life…”
“We are aware today more than ever of the interconnection of life and that the survival of the human person and the planet is intimately related to the conviction that we belong to and need each other. To the Haitian people and to the vowed religious who live their mission in that beautiful land, we ask that they hear today our voice of solidarity that rises strongly to assure them that they are not alone, that we walk with them, and that we will do everything we can to help them achieve the liberation they seek and deserve around law, dignity and justice.”
Recently Fr. Nestor Fils-Aimé wrote to me to describe the deteriorating situation in Haiti. While the confreres are safe their ministry is very difficult because of the situation throughout the country. Kidnappings and assassinations are increasing. Fr. Fils-Aimé informed me that a nephew of his had been kidnapped and the family was forced to pay a significant ransom in order to achieve his release. This is the situation for many families in Haiti, including the families of our confreres.
Even while the Viatorian Community faces these challenges in Haiti, our brothers there rejoice in the on-going project to rebuild Villa Manrese which was nearly fully destroyed in an earthquake over ten years ago. This rebuilding project continues today and will, hopefully, provide a place for renewed Viatorian ministry in Haiti.
In this Easter season, I ask that you especially pray for our Viatorian Community in Haiti. Our brothers need our support and the people of Haiti they serve need our prayers. As the leaders of CLAR wrote in March, “May the God of justice and freedom, the God of peace, the God of Jesus, who came so that we may have life in abundance, accompany the people of Haiti in this national ordeal.” Let us make their prayer ours!
Fraternally in the Risen Christ,
Robert M. Egan, CSV