Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Prayer and aid for Haiti

UPDATE 1/15/2010: The Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, has announced this afternoon that any Haitian who can prove that they were in the United States BEFORE the January 12, 2010 earthquake in that country is granted temporary protective status for 18 months. This provision does not apply to Haitians who come after 1/12/2010.

I would like to join those who are calling for immediate aid for our brothers and sisters in Haiti who are suffering from the devastating earthquake yesterday that killed so many people, including Msgr. Joseph Serge Miot, the Archbishop of Port-au-Prince.

I would also like to join with members of Congress and others who are calling on President Obama to extend temporary protective status to Haitians living in the United States. The application of TPS to Haitians is long overdue and if this is not a situation that cries out for TPS, I don't know what is. This afternoon we did receive the good news that the Obama administration is temporarily suspending deportations of undocumented Haitians who are in the United States.

ACT NOW: You can act now to call on Congress and the White House to support TPS for Haiti.

MAKE A DONATION: Here are some Catholic organizations to which you can donate online to help alleviate the suffering in Haiti:

If you don't like to give money online, many Catholic parishes in this country will be taking up a special second collection this Sunday to help Catholic Relief Services' efforts in Haiti. My pastor, Fr. Tim, reports: "The [Arlington, VA] diocese has asked that all parishes hold this collection in an effort to help with relief aid to Haiti. I [Fr. Tim] have spoken with one of the Spiritans who works at CRS and he told me that CRS mobilized last evening and are sending aid workers to join those CRS personnel who are already on the ground in Haiti." So come prepared to be very generous, brothers and sisters! Many churches, including the main cathedral, and parochial schools and other Catholic institutions in the Port-au-Prince area have been completely destroyed.

PRAY: And a prayer, courtesy of the Diocese of San Jose:

A Prayer After the Earthquake in Haiti

Lord, at times such as this,
when we realize that the ground beneath our feet
is not as solid as we had imagined,
we plead for your mercy.

As the things we have built crumble about us,
we know too well how small we truly are
on this ever-changing, ever-moving,
fragile planet we call home.
Yet you have promised never to forget us.

Do not forget us now.

Today, so many people are afraid.
They wait in fear of the next tremor.
They hear the cries of the injured amid the rubble.
They roam the streets in shock at what they see.
And they fill the dusty air with wails of grief
and the names of missing dead.

Comfort them, Lord, in this disaster.
Be their rock when the earth refuses to stand still,
and shelter them under your wings when homes no longer exist.

Embrace in your arms those who died so suddenly this day.
Console the hearts of those who mourn,
and ease the pain of bodies on the brink of death.

Pierce, too, our hearts with compassion,
we who watch from afar,
as the poorest on this side of the earth
find only misery upon misery.
Move us to act swiftly this day,
to give generously every day,
to work for justice always,
and to pray unceasingly for those without hope.

And once the shaking has ceased,
the images of destruction have stopped filling the news,
and our thoughts return to life’s daily rumblings,
let us not forget that we are all your children
and they, our brothers and sisters.
We are all the work of your hands.

For though the mountains leave their place
and the hills be tossed to the ground,
your love shall never leave us,
and your promise of peace will never be shaken.

Our help is in the name of the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
Blessed be the name of the Lord,
now and forever. Amen.

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