September 20, 1988
Most Reverend Francois Gayot, s.m.m.
Archbishop of Cap Haitien
President, Episcopal Conference of Haiti
Angle Rues Piquant et Lamarre
Dear Archbishop Gayot:
The tragic events of recent days, directed especially against the rights and dignity of the Catholic faithful of Haiti and their ministers, have been deeply disturbing to many in our country. We were shocked to hear of the bloody assault on September 11 at St. Jean Bosco Church which resulted in the death and injury of scores of worshippers. Equally shocking was the news that police and military units located in the immediate vicinity failed to prevent or contain this criminal and sacrilegious attack.
The subsequent attack at three other parishes and at the church's Radio Soleil (as well as the abrupt expulsion in August of a missionary priest) bear eloquent witness to the cost of fidelity to the Gospel in your country today. Indeed, just last month the Holy Father praised you and your fellow bishops for your actively "accompanying your people in the quest for freedom and the anguished search for a true democracy," and for preaching the full "economic, political and religious" dimensions of the church's social teachings.
In the name of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops of the United States, I extend to you and to all those affected by these sad events our prayerful solidarity and assure you of our continued support. I pray especially that the government newly installed will not only put an end to the criminal behavior that has terrorized so many but that it will be truly sensitive to the needs and rightful expectations of the poorest of the poor.
With renewed expressions of esteem, I remain
Fraternally in Christ,
Most Reverend John L. May
Archbishop of St. Louis