Cardinal to visit Haiti with bishops’ delegation

BRAINTREE -- Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley will travel to Haiti from March 1-3 as part of a U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ commission charged with evaluating the long-term needs of the Church in Haiti.

Cardinal O’Malley will be joined by Archbishop Gomez of San Antonio, who will chair the Haiti Advisory Group, and Bishop Guy Sansaricq, who is auxiliary bishop of Brooklyn and the only Haitian-American bishop in the United States.

“The visit by the Advisory Group of bishops will help begin an assessment and enable us to advise the Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America on the eventual distribution of special collection funds,” Archbishop Gomez said.

“The purpose in setting up a special advisory group is to ensure that we can remain focused on the long term development needs of the Church in Haiti. The bishops will call upon other experts to help them in this task,” he said.

Cardinal O’Malley noted the ongoing concern of U.S. Catholics for the Church and the people in Haiti.

“The worldwide response to help Haiti recover from this disaster has been unprecedented. The Catholic response in particular is a profound example of stewardship and the universal bonds that unite the Church. In traveling to Haiti, we will express the ongoing concern of all those Catholics who have reached out to Haiti in prayer and material support.”

In his Feb. 19 blog post the cardinal said that he expects that the archdiocesan special collection for Haiti will raise around $2 million which will be distributed through Catholic Relief Services. The archdiocese confirmed that figure in a Feb. 24 statement.

Meanwhile, seeking to help Haitians here in the archdiocese, Catholic Charities of Boston is offering free legal services to Haitians seeking Temporary Protected Status (TPS) following the disaster, becoming the first agency in the state to do so.

Catholic Charities offered its outreach through its refugee and immigration department. To date, the agency has provided free legal help to more than 600 Haitians during clinics held in Dorchester and Brockton.

“We here at Catholic Charities have been collaborating at the very center of the city’s response,” said Catholic Charities president Tiziana Dearing.

“Whether it’s providing a meeting place where families can come together for comfort and support during this crisis, or providing for their basic needs because they are sending all of their resources and money back home, we continue to provide wrap around services,” she said.