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BRAINTREE -- In the wake of the Aug. 14 earthquake in Haiti, Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley has asked all parishes in the archdiocese to take up special collections in support of Catholic Relief Services and the Church in Haiti.
The magnitude 7.2 earthquake has caused the deaths of nearly 2,000 people as of press time and left thousands more injured or homeless. It has also disrupted communications and basic services. Catholic Relief Services is sending teams to provide clean water, sanitation, shelter and emergency supplies in response to the earthquake.
"The people of Haiti are in our prayers today following the deadly earthquake. The loss of life and the suffering is great. We join in solidarity with the Haitian community in the Archdiocese of Boston praying for their loved ones in Haiti," Cardinal O'Malley said in a tweet from his official Twitter account @CardinalSean Aug. 16.
In a separate tweet Aug. 16, the cardinal also asked for prayers for Cardinal Chibly Langlois, the Bishop of Les Cayes and president of Haiti's bishops conference, whose residence collapsed in the quake. One priest was killed, and Cardinal Langlois was injured, although his injuries are not life-threatening.
"Please keep Cardinal Chibly Langlois in your prayers. He had recently been my guest in Boston before returning to Haiti. We pray for his well-being and for all the Haitian people," the cardinal tweeted.
In his Aug. 17 message calling on parishes to hold the special collection, Cardinal O'Malley said, "The people of Haiti are suffering. The earthquake has caused a significant loss of life and many have been injured. Desperation grows by the hour with the disruption in communications as well as basic services such as water, sanitation, and medical supplies. Our parishioners have long answered the call when natural disasters have struck in other parts of the world. The Haitian people need us now."
The message also noted, "The parishes of the Archdiocese of Boston have consistently stepped forward during times of natural disasters to assist our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world," and that, in response to the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the parishioners of the archdiocese raised more than $2 million to aid relief efforts.
In most parishes, the special collection will be taken up on the weekend of either Aug. 21-22 or Aug. 28-29. Parishioners should address checks to their parish, with "Haiti Earthquake Relief" in the memo.