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Celebrating in Jacmel, Haiti

Archbishop helps break ground for new building on land archdiocese helped to buy

Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Florida Catholic staff - Florida Catholic

COURTESY PHOTO | Marie Arago for USCCB
Posing in front of the architect's rendering of the new multipurpose building in Jacmel, from left: Jacques Liautaud, the U.S. bishops' manager for Haiti, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, papal nuncio to Haiti, Bishop Launay Saturné of Jacmel, Stephan Destin, director general of PROCHE in Haiti, and Archbishop Thomas Wenski.

COURTESY PHOTO | Sister Elizabeth Worley
Archbishop Wenski blesses the cornerstone that was embedded in one of the columns of the planned multipurpose building as Archbishop Bernardito Auza, left, papal nuncio to Haiti, watches. At right are Bishop Joseph Lafontant, auxiliary bishop of Port-au-Prince and Bishop Launay Saturné, bishop of Jacmel.
MIAMI |Archbishop Thomas Wenski traveled to Haiti May 1 to take part in a triple celebration in the Diocese of Jacmel: an agricultural feast and national holiday, the namesake feast of the diocesan cathedral, and the groundbreaking for a new multipurpose building for the cathedral parish.

The building is one of the projects funded by some of the money collected by the U.S. Church after the devastating earthquake of Jan. 12, 2010. Its construction is being overseen by PROCHE, the Partnership for the Reconstruction of the Church in Haiti, which brings together representatives of the Haitian bishops, the religious working in Haiti, the U.S. bishops, the French bishops, and the German bishops’ relief agency, Adveniat.

PROCHE’s purpose is to lead a transparent, cooperative effort of rebuilding damaged church structures throughout the country; an effort that allows donors to see where their money is going and ensures that all new structures conform to building codes that will allow them to withstand future earthquakes and hurricanes.


COURTESY PHOTO | Sister Elizabeth Worley
Archbishop Wenski shovels dirt under a large earthmover during the groundbreaking for the new multipurpose building in Jacmel.
Jacmel’s historic, 200-year-old Cathedral of St. Jacques and St. Philippe (St. James and St. Philip), whose feast day is May 1, was rendered unusable by the earthquake. Cathedral parishioners have been celebrating Mass for the past three years in an adjacent structure — basically a covered pavilion with a concrete roof and pillars but no walls, according to Sister Elizabeth Worley of the Sisters of St. Joseph of St. Augustine, archdiocesan chancellor for administration who accompanied Archbishop Wenski on the trip.

While trying to decide whether to build a new cathedral or rebuild the old one, the decision was made to erect a new multipurpose building where parishioners could worship on Sundays as well as hold meetings during the week. The Archdiocese of Miami joined other donors in contributing money to purchase the land where the multipurpose building will be built. That is why Archbishop Wenski was invited to take part in the groundbreaking.

Together with the papal nuncio to Haiti, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, and the bishop of Jacmel, Bishop Launay Saturne, Archbishop Wenski celebrated Mass for a standing-room only crowd May 1, which is also an agricultural holiday in Haiti. The festive Mass featured bountiful baskets of locally-grown produce in the offertory procession, as well as pineapples, mangos, bananas, sugar cane and palm branches hanging from the rafters as decorations. 

COURTESY PHOTO | Marie Arago for USCCB
View of the area where the multipurpose building for the cathedral parish of Jacmel will be built. The construction will be overseen by PROCHE and the Archdiocese of Miami was one of several donors who helped pay for the land.

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