Cardinal Seán's Blog

Cardinal Seán shares his reflections & experiences.

Return to Haiti

Greetings, once again.

This past Thursday morning, I had a Mass at BC High where we presented the Ignatius Awards to three deserving recipients:

large_photo37987_537366[1] John Mahoney

large_photo37987_537365[1] Francis Furey

large_photo37987_537367[1] Norman Swain

All of them gave very moving witness talks in which they underlined their commitment to the faith and the values that had been nurtured at BC High.

DSC_0091

DSC_0111

Furey

It was a very valuable thing for the young students to hear from these dedicated Catholic laymen who had received such good formation at BC High.

- – -

Later that evening, I attended a dinner for the Jesuits in our area. Each year, they have a banquet to raise funds for the New England Province of Jesuits, particularly to support their retired priests and formation program.

I was happy to be a part of it and to be there with their new provincial, Father Myles Sheehan. I was asked to present him at the banquet. He is a very accomplished physician — a gerontologist. I told him I particularly admired his courage for going on CatholicTV’s “Going MyWay” with Father Chris Hickey, who had him playing the guitar.

Photo by Justin Knight

At the dinner, they presented the Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam Award to Dick and Ann Marie Connolly. This award is given annually at this dinner to recognize those who generously help others.

Photo by Justin Knight

The Connollys with Father Sheehan

You may know that Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, Latin for “for the greater glory of God”, is the Jesuit motto.

Dick is a very successful financial broker with Morgan Stanley, having been nationally and regionally recognized. He helps organize a golf outing to benefit the Francis Ouimet Caddie Scholarship. Ann Marie enjoyed a marvelous career with an educational consulting firm, serves as a trustee at several non-profit organizations, including Colby College, the Lahey Clinic, and is the incoming chair of Hestia, a women’s group which funds after-school programs. They also support numerous organizations in the region including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, College of the Holy Cross, and WPI. They are parishioners of Holy Family in Concord where Ann Marie serves on the pastoral council.

The evening was a very successful. There were about 1,200 people there — a sign of the great affection people have for the Jesuits who historically have been such an important part of the Archdiocese. In fact, our second bishop, Bishop Fenwick, was a Jesuit.

Still today the order has a very large presence here, numbering about 300.

- – -

On Friday morning, I gave the keynote address at the third annual Co-Workers in the Vineyard Conference at the Campion Renewal Center in Weston.

Coworkers in the Vineyard Conference, April 16, 2010 at the Campion Center in Weston. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

Coworkers in the Vineyard Conference, April 16, 2010 at the Campion Center in Weston. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

This conference brings together parish staff members — both ordained and lay — from around the archdiocese for a day of reflection about ministry in the Church today.

Coworkers in the Vineyard Conference, April 16, 2010 at the Campion Center in Weston. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

Coworkers in the Vineyard Conference, April 16, 2010 at the Campion Center in Weston. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

Coworkers in the Vineyard Conference, April 16, 2010 at the Campion Center in Weston. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

Dr. Aldonna Lingertat, director of the MAM program

Coworkers in the Vineyard Conference, April 16, 2010 at the Campion Center in Weston. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

This year there were so many people they had to turn people away from it. It was a very successful conference.

Coworkers in the Vineyard Conference, April 16, 2010 at the Campion Center in Weston. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

Coworkers in the Vineyard Conference, April 16, 2010 at the Campion Center in Weston. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

I gave a talk on lay ministry and evangelization. You can listen to my remarks here:

 

The conference was organized by the Master of Arts in Ministry program at St. John’s Seminary and our Office for Clergy Support and Ongoing Formation, and co-sponsored by other archdiocesan offices. Everybody involved did a wonderful job of running it.

I am also thankful to the support from Our Sunday Visitor, which helped fund the conference.

Following my talk, I recognized Lynn Kenn for all her work witnessing to the pro-life cause.  Twenty-five years ago she founded the Parish Baby Shower Program in our Archdiocese to help women in crisis pregnancies.

You can hear my remarks and some comments by Lynn here:

Lynn Kenn is honored for the 25th anniversary of the her founding of the archdiocese's Baby Showers program to help women in crisis pregancies. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

We presented her with a hand-painted plate that showed Lynn with her husband, children and me, all together under Our Lady and angels.

Lynn Kenn is honored for the 25th anniversary of the her founding of the archdiocese's Baby Showers program to help women in crisis pregancies. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

Lynn Kenn is honored for the 25th anniversary of the her founding of the archdiocese's Baby Showers program to help women in crisis pregancies. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

I am so grateful to Lynn and all those who have contributed gifts to this very important effort. It was wonderful that so many of her children and grandchildren could be there for the presentation.

Lynn Kenn is honored for the 25th anniversary of the her founding of the archdiocese's Baby Showers program to help women in crisis pregancies. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

Lynn Kenn is honored for the 25th anniversary of the her founding of the archdiocese's Baby Showers program to help women in crisis pregancies. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

Lynn Kenn is honored for the 25th anniversary of the her founding of the archdiocese's Baby Showers program to help women in crisis pregancies. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

Lynn Kenn is honored for the 25th anniversary of the her founding of the archdiocese's Baby Showers program to help women in crisis pregancies. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

With Lynn, Russ and their family

- – -

On Saturday, we had our annual Boston Catholic Men’s Conference. This year, we were blessed to host it at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.

Boston Catholic Men’s Conference featuring speakers from EWTN’s ‘Crossing the Goal’, April 17, 2010 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

Boston Catholic Men’s Conference featuring speakers from EWTN’s ‘Crossing the Goal’, April 17, 2010 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

Boston Catholic Men’s Conference featuring speakers from EWTN’s ‘Crossing the Goal’, April 17, 2010 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

Boston Catholic Men’s Conference featuring speakers from EWTN’s ‘Crossing the Goal’, April 17, 2010 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

Boston Catholic Men’s Conference featuring speakers from EWTN’s ‘Crossing the Goal’, April 17, 2010 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

Boston Catholic Men’s Conference featuring speakers from EWTN’s ‘Crossing the Goal’, April 17, 2010 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

I was the main celebrant and homilist for the Mass that afternoon. You can hear my homily here:

Boston Catholic Men’s Conference featuring speakers from EWTN’s ‘Crossing the Goal’, April 17, 2010 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

Boston Catholic Men’s Conference featuring speakers from EWTN’s ‘Crossing the Goal’, April 17, 2010 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

Boston Catholic Men’s Conference featuring speakers from EWTN’s ‘Crossing the Goal’, April 17, 2010 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

Boston Catholic Men’s Conference featuring speakers from EWTN’s ‘Crossing the Goal’, April 17, 2010 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

We had over 1,500 men from the Archdiocese of Boston and nearby dioceses who gathered for prayer and reflection. The talks were given by the hosts of EWTN’s “Crossing the Goal.” They were very inspiring.

They talked about the challenges and the importance of being Christian disciples in today’s world.

Boston Catholic Men’s Conference featuring speakers from EWTN’s ‘Crossing the Goal’, April 17, 2010 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy Brian Patrick

Boston Catholic Men’s Conference featuring speakers from EWTN’s ‘Crossing the Goal’, April 17, 2010 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy Curtis Martin

Boston Catholic Men’s Conference featuring speakers from EWTN’s ‘Crossing the Goal’, April 17, 2010 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. TracyPeter Herbeck

Boston Catholic Men’s Conference featuring speakers from EWTN’s ‘Crossing the Goal’, April 17, 2010 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy Danny Abramowicz

In the afternoon, Father Paul O’Brien spoke to the men in the afternoon and shared his story of building the Cor Unum Meal Center at his parish, St. Patrick’s in Lawrence.

Boston Catholic Men’s Conference featuring speakers from EWTN’s ‘Crossing the Goal’, April 17, 2010 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy Scot Landry

We are so grateful to Scot Landry, his team, all the parish captains, the speakers, and the many volunteers that came to facilitate everything.

Boston Catholic Men’s Conference featuring speakers from EWTN’s ‘Crossing the Goal’, April 17, 2010 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

Boston Catholic Men’s Conference featuring speakers from EWTN’s ‘Crossing the Goal’, April 17, 2010 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

Boston Catholic Men’s Conference featuring speakers from EWTN’s ‘Crossing the Goal’, April 17, 2010 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

Boston Catholic Men’s Conference featuring speakers from EWTN’s ‘Crossing the Goal’, April 17, 2010 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

Boston Catholic Men’s Conference featuring speakers from EWTN’s ‘Crossing the Goal’, April 17, 2010 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

Boston Catholic Men’s Conference featuring speakers from EWTN’s ‘Crossing the Goal’, April 17, 2010 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

- – -

On Sunday, I returned to Haiti, where I saw the progress of the ongoing earthquake relief efforts.

4536394388_56ccfc9687

I went back principally to visit the hospital run by the Order of Malta in the town of Milot. During my first trip I did not have time to get to the hospital there, so I promised them that I would return.

The hospital is called Hopital Sacre Coeur, or Sacred Heart Hospital. I would guess that it is currently the best hospital in Haiti. A committee of the Order of Malta runs it, and the hospital is staffed largely with volunteer doctors and nurses from the U.S., though it is administered by resident Haitian doctors. Also, a community of Irish sisters has recently come down to work in the town there.

4536562726_934f370438

In the helicopter with the Nuncio and his assistant

We flew to Port-au-Prince and then took a helicopter to Milot. When we arrived we were met by schoolchildren, and they sang for us. A little girl in a wheelchair had a bouquet of flowers for me. It was the first time a cardinal had ever visited there so they wanted to make it special.

4536483274_7656ce884f

The hospital is an amazing institution by the standards of Haiti. It has all kinds of wonderful equipment, much of it donated through the Ascension Health Care System.

4540940838_17488e9450

4536638204_a7c3f59885

Our Catholic hospitals of Boston — the Caritas Christi system — has been supporting that hospital. They sent down several very special medical tents.

4536682240_c6bc14eec3_o

4536682240_c6bc14eec3_o

Each of the tents carries the name of one of our hospitals in Boston. This one is the Carney Hospital tent

4540964534_446cedb8b0

The St. E’s tent

It cost about $250,000 to put them up. The tents have generators, special flooring, electrical systems and lighting. That allowed for an expansion of the hospital from an 80-bed facility to servicing, at one point, up to 500 patients.

4536587008_da69ffe8a4

Inside one of the tents

4540938962_b710b27955

With Peter Kelly – head of the Hospital

4535901081_d58f000fef

We had 75 doctors and nurses from the Caritas Christi hospitals volunteer to serve in Haiti following the earthquake. We were there with Dr. Mark Pearlmutter, who is head of emergency medicine at Caritas Christi, and Michelle Fey, the head of nursing at Caritas.

4540943572_1bcc2f5acb

4540943420_9116fff4b2

From left, Peter Kelly, Dr. Mark Perlmutter, Michelle Fey – head of nursing services for Caritas , Jim O’Connor from the Order of Malta, Dr. Roger Jean Charles and Scott Campbell from CRS.

It was very encouraging to see how much has been accomplished.

The late Tom Flatley built them a beautiful hospital lab years ago. His sister, who was a chemistry teacher, came and oversaw its set up.

4540939578_79dc1f44db

4540940242_44088b78ec

Tom asked that the lab be dedicated to Mother Teresa

The hospital has also installed a water purification plant that runs on solar power. That is so important because potable water is such a luxury in Haiti.

haitiday2_113

The water purification plant. Right beside it they are building a small factory to make prosthetic limbs for the amputees.

Many children have had limbs amputated. Losing a limb is always a difficult but, for children, it is more complicated because over the period of their growth they will need several new limbs.

4536606346_fc7f01e76d

There were some babies with tuberculosis of the spine. One little baby was found in the rubble four or five days after the earthquake buried under dead bodies, including those of her parents.

4536657682_7962494d34

As you can see, she’s doing fine

This hospital, because it is out in the countryside, was not at all affected by the earthquake, so it became the major trauma center after the earthquake. The U.S. military and the U.N. would bring several patients a day by helicopter for surgery and medical care at this wonderful hospital.

In the following video,  published back in February, Dr.  Perlmutter described in a very moving way the efforts our physicians performed in the aftermath of the earthquake.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The area we were visiting is part of the Archdiocese of Cap-Haïtien. After we visited the patients, we had an outdoor Mass for the patients and the staff. Archbishop Louis Kébreau, who is a salesian, concelebrated.

4540164243_d07eba5d69

From the left, Archbishop Louis Kébreau and the Nuncio, Archbishop Bernardito Cleopas Auza

4536058933_948e1986c9

4536689746_5eb4bc8d57

Some of the town’s people also came to the Mass. I celebrated the Mass in Creole. The youngsters were all fascinated that this old white man spoke Creole!

It was a beautiful celebration. There was lovely singing. Haitians, of course, have such a beautiful sense of celebration.

After visiting the hospital, the archbishop invited us to visit the ruins of the Sans-Souci Palace, which is the palace of King Henri Christophe, who, after the Haitian revolution 200 years ago ruled the Northern Kingdom. The southern part of the country became a republic. He built this beautiful Versailles-like palace there in the town of Milot, which was the capital of the Northern Kingdom.

4540944224_d6504583b0

Walking up the hill towards the palace

4536009133_e67ccf91c7

The ruins of the King Henri Christophe Sans-Souci Palace.
This is a statue of his wife

The palace was destroyed in 1842, during another earthquake that devastated the region and was never rebuilt.

The only part of the palace that is still intact from that time is the chapel, which is used as the parish church. It has an extraordinary dome.

4540310463_3ccf109ecc

When we came down the mountain we were greeted by a band. The children had very spiffy uniforms, but very old instruments. They played the national anthem and then another song, which was a greeting song.

haitiday2_102

The children of the parish gave us a presentation on their pro-life and chastity courses they have at the parish. I was impressed by it.

haitiday2_108

They also gave me a beautiful painting showing the parish and what the palace looked like originally. It was done in the typical Haitian “primitivisme” style.

CIMG0696

CIMG0697

It was a very interesting visit and I was impressed by the works that our people are doing. You can look at more photos here and watch a video that summarizes the day:

4536047761_8d0bd48fb0

We returned to Port-au-Prince in the evening and we had dinner at the Nunciature with a number of the officials from the UN, the Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo and other NGOs. The nuncio was good enough to bring these people together so we could hear from them their hopes, objectives and concerns. What an excellent job the nuncio is doing!

4540178589_29724018db

Also, we had time to spend with the administrator of Port-au-Prince, Monsignor Joseph Lafontant.

haitiday2_112

Msgr. Lafontant showing us a photo of the Cathedral before the earthquake

In Port-au-Prince the next day, we visited the Catholic hospital that is being administered by Catholic Relief Services. It’s basically in tents, but it’s on the site of the oldest hospital in Port-au-Prince, Hospital St. Francois de Sales.

haitiday2_103

This is what is left of the St. Francois de Sales Hospital

The group of surgeons we met there are from Bon Secours Hospital in Baltimore. When we met the doctors, some were wearing lamps on their foreheads, like miners, because they kept losing electricity and would have to do operations by flashlight.

haitiday2_111

Talking with the doctors

haitiday2_111 A closer look at a doctor with a flashlight they use to perform surgery
by flashlight

haitiday2_105

On that visit we were accompanied by Deacon Patrick Moynihan and his wife. As you may remember from my post on my first visit they are running a very successful school for poor children there

The recovery after the earthquake is very, very slow. About 1.5 million people are still in tent cities. You don’t see heavy equipment moving the rubble. There has been a lot of planning going on up until now but you don’t see dramatic improvements.

4536480562_74a365c299

An aerial view of Port-au-Prince from our helicopter. You can see a tent-city and collapsed houses

Right now, the priority is to get permanent housing for the people. That has its challenges, but they’re beginning to initiate projects of bringing in prefabricated housing.

After that, they’ll try to deal with the situation of the schools. Presently, very few children are able to attend school.

Also, the nuncio is anxious to begin to rebuild some of the churches, if nothing else, to be a sign of hope to the people and that things will return to some normalcy. Our bishops’ conference has had conversations with Catholic relief organizations in Europe to try and coordinate what specific projects each will be responsible for. Of course, Catholic relief organizations are still the lead organizations as far as relief efforts. They have done an extraordinary job there.

Please continue to pray for the people of Haiti, and for all who are administering relief efforts.

- – -

Yesterday, I was very happy to be visited by Pablo Eduardo, a local sculptor who has produced some very significant art for the Boston area.

CIMG0695

I have known him since he was a child because his father worked for me in Washington as editor of the Spanish-language archdiocesan newspaper, El Pregonero.

I was pleasantly surprised when I came to Boston to discover that Pablo was here with his family and has a studio in Gloucester. He has done beautiful works including a statue of Boston Mayor Kevin White commissioned by the city.

2841263736_6c08795e18

He also has created a statue of St. Ignatius of Loyola at Boston College.

08 Ignatious of Loyla

Pablo is now finishing his work on a statue of St. Thomas More for the BC Law School.

Thomas-More-01

Until next week,

Cardinal Seán

7 Responses to Return to Haiti


Comments

  1. Comment by Peter | 2010/04/24 at 10:52:03

    What an inspiring blog post this week, Cardinal Sean! Thank you for all you and your staff do to spread the Gospel by word and deed!

  2. Comment by Lindsey | 2010/04/24 at 14:30:55

    Dear Cardinal Sean,

    I enjoyed your blog this week. I liked reading about Haiti and how they are being helped. It makes me happy to know that they are getting the help and attention they need.

    Thank you,
    Lindsey
    Saint Paul School
    Grade 8

  3. Comment by Sam Oddo | 2010/04/25 at 20:47:19

    Thank you your eminence for saying mass at our school, Boston College High School.

    Sincerely,

    Sam Oddo

  4. Comment by Kate | 2010/04/25 at 20:48:21

    Dear Cardinal Sean,

    It sounds like the Co-Workers in the Vineyard Conference went well! The plate looked really pretty, and it’s great that it was home-made.

    It’s so nice that you returned to Haiti! I’m so glad that the relief efforts are going well. Even though it will still take a long time for them to recover from such devastation, it’s nice to know that things are starting to go in the right direction.

    Thank you for another great blog!

    Kate
    Grade 8
    Saint Paul School

  5. Comment by Mariah | 2010/04/25 at 21:19:24

    Dear Cardinal Sean,

    I enjoyed hearing about your week, especially your trip to Haiti. The pictures you have posted are a reminder of the efforts to rebuild. It was inspiring to see all of the help Catholic organizations are giving to the Haitian people.

    Sincerely,
    Mariah
    Saint Paul School
    Grade 8

  6. Comment by Christopher Baker | 2010/04/26 at 07:57:16

    Dear Cardinal Sean O’Malley,

    I would like to thank you for taking your time to come and say a beautiful liturgy at Boston College High School. Thank you your Eminence.

    Sincerely,
    Christopher Baker ’11

  7. Comment by Gabrielle | 2010/04/26 at 21:44:33

    Dear Cardinal Sean,

    Congratulations to John Mahoney, Francis Furey, and Norman Swain for winning the Ignatius Award! It is important that people understand that Haiti still needs our help and is still suffering from the earthquake that caused so much damage. I think that it is wonderful that you posted information about your visit to Haiti on your blog!

    Thank You,

    Gabrielle
    Saint Paul School
    Hingham
    Grade 8


Comments are closed