2010 Fall General Assembly
Speeches / Addresses
New York Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, right, addresses members of the media at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops annual fall meeting in Baltimore Nov. 16. The bishops elected him president of the conference. At left is the newly elected vice presid ent, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)
Bishop Yousif Habash, head of the Newark, N.J.-based Eparchy of Our Lady of Deliverance for Syrian Catholics, talks with Bishop Ronald W. Gainer of Lexington, Ky., during the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops annual fall meeting in Baltimore Nov. 16. ( CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)
Members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops pray before the start of the second day of their annual fall meeting in Baltimore Nov. 16. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)
Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, Ariz., vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, talks with Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago, president, during the U.S. bishops' annual fall meeting in Baltimore Nov. 15. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)
Auxiliary Bishop Eduardo A. Nevares of Phoenix reacts to a discussion on social media at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops annual fall meeting in Baltimore Nov. 15. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)
Auxiliary Bishop John R. Manz of Chicago, center, attends the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops annual fall meeting in Baltimore Nov. 15. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)
Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City stands with Charlene Harris of the Diocese of Sacramento, Calif., as he reports on the work of the U.S. bishops' National Advisory Council Nov. 15 at the U.S. bishops' annual fall meeting in Baltimore. Harris chair s the advisory council. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)
Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta, right, talks with Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami, during the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops annual fall meeting in Baltimore Nov. 15. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)
Bishop Tod Brown, right, of Orange, Calif., greets Auxiliary Bishop Octavio Cisneros of Brooklyn, N.Y., as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops gather for their annual fall meeting in Baltimore Nov. 15. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)
Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of Oakland, Calif., works on a laptop during the annual fall meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Nov. 15 in Baltimore. CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)
Members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops gather for the start of their annual fall meeting in Baltimore Nov. 15. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)
Members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, including Bishop Michael R. Cote (center) of Norwich, Conn., applaud after an address by Cardinal Francis E. George, president of the conference, at the bishops' annual fall meeting in Baltimore Nov. 15 . (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)
Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, addresses the U.S. bishops at the start of their annual fall meeting in Baltimore Nov. 15. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)
Report: Rebuilding in Haiti slow,
but has strong US church support
BISHOPS-HAITI Nov-16-2010 (750 words)
By Patricia Zapor Catholic News Service
BALTIMORE (CNS) -- In the 10 months since Haiti's devastating earthquake buried nearly 300,000 people beneath rubble, the response from American Catholics for relief and rebuilding has been like none before, reported Dallas Bishop Kevin J. Farrell Nov. 15 at the annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
But ongoing needs are massive and redevelopment of Haiti is proceeding slowly and with many obstacles, according to several bishops whose committees are involved in the U.S. church's ongoing assistance. Several bishops provided pieces of a comprehensive oral report about aspects of the church's efforts for Haiti.
For example, Miami Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski, who has long worked among the Haitian community in the United States and is chairman of the Haiti Advisory Group of the bishops' Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America, said the massive devastation in Haiti included the destruction of 70 parishes, dozens of schools, and several convents and centers of priestly formation. He asked, at the request of the Haitian bishops, that U.S. church groups use the system of church twinning to channel aid toward local parish communities.
Bishop Farrell, chairman of the Committee on National Collections, said special collections in parishes raised $82.6 million to aid victims of the Jan. 12 earthquake.
"In one weekend, the 18,500-plus parishes in the United States gave more money for a national collection than ever collected in a single collection," he said. "And they did it during Sunday Mass, connecting their devotion with their dedication."
The bulk of that money went to Catholic Relief Services for its relief and redevelopment projects.
The balance, 40 percent, or $32.9 million is being disbursed through the bishops' Collection for the Church in Latin America office for ecclesial needs. The largest grant of the first $1.2 million disbursed, $320,000, went to reconstitute the national seminary by providing sturdy tents for seminarians and their classes, Bishop Wenski said.
New York Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, chairman of CRS, said the agency's response in Haiti was among the quickest possible because the agency has a long history in the country and had some relief supplies close at hand. CRS, which is the U.S. bishops' overseas relief and development agency, continues to provide monthly food rations to more than 100,000 children in more than 370 schools, orphanages and child care centers, he said.
Other ongoing aid includes providing materials for shelter and medical care, including in response to the current outbreak of cholera.
He cautioned that as the one-year anniversary of the earthquake approaches, "there will be stories about what has not been done yet in Haiti, because there is so much still to do. But we must also help our people understand how much has been accomplished, and help them recognize that the successful recovery of Haiti will take years, so we must have a long-term perspective."
Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of Albany, N.Y., chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace, pointed to some policy successes, including helping secure debt relief for Haiti, expansion and extension of trade preferences for Haiti's apparel industry, and significant commitments of foreign assistance for immediate relief and long-term development.
Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City, chairman of the Committee on Migration, noted that within days of the earthquake, the Obama administration extended temporary protected status or delayed deportation to Haitians, allowing those in the U.S. illegally at the time of the quake to remain in the country legally and work.
A delegation from bishops' Migration and Refugee Services that visited Haiti this past summer called for increased protection for vulnerable Haitians inside and outside their country and for reunification of families that were separated when some members were evacuated to the United States for medical care, Bishop Wester said.
At a news conference the same afternoon, Archbishop Wenski and Bishop Wester said that after some glitches at the beginning of the program for temporary protected status, applications are now being processed "quite efficiently." Some people have been reluctant to apply, because the status was only granted for an 18-month period. Both bishops said it's likely that the status will be extended.
Archbishop Wenski noted that the Catholic bishops had been seeking temporary protected status for Haitians for years, through the George W. Bush and Obama administrations. One fear voiced by government representatives during those efforts was that granting the status might spark waves of people leaving Haiti in unsafe boats trying to reach the United States, he said.
Such scenarios did not pan out, he pointed out.
11/16/2010 11:15 AM ET
Copyright (c) 2010 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops