Archdiocese bans parish trips to Haiti

BRAINTREE -- The Archdiocese of Boston has banned mission trips to Haiti in the face of increased crime and social instability in the Caribbean nation.

"Given the increasingly dangerous situation for missionaries in Haiti, and the recent spate of kidnappings, parishes will not be allowed to send groups too Haiti on Mission Trips until further notice," Vicar General Bishop Peter Uglietto said in a statement released Oct. 22.

The Oct. 16 kidnapping of 17 Christian missionaries was the latest sign of the deteriorating conditions in the country following the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise in July and a devastating magnitude 7.2 earthquake in August.

The State Department issued a travel advisory for Haiti earlier this month, designating the country as "Level 4 -- Do not travel" due to ''kidnapping, crime, civil unrest, and COVID-19," according to the department's website.

In recent years, Haiti has become a frequent destination for mission trips led by local parishes and other Catholic institutions.

Bishop Uglietto asked that parishes involved with mission programs "continue to find ways of getting financial support to their various missions in Haiti, and to assist Catholic Charities in raising support for the recently arrived Haitian refugees."

In his message, Bishop Uglietto also encouraged parishioners "to keep the people of Haiti very close in their prayers during this difficult time."