Dearest Brothers and Sisters
Looking forward to that blessed day when we will have the distinct honor to receive our common Father, His Holiness Pope John Paul II, we, Bishops of Haiti, convened in an Episcopal Conference together with the Conference of Haitian Religious, invite you to prepare the way for him and to take the proper initiatives so that his arrival and stay among us may occur in an atmosphere of peace, serenity and true joy.
"Straighten his paths,
May every hill be lowered,
Every valley filled" (Is. 40, 3-4)
"All flesh will see the salvation of our God." (Luke 3, 4-6)
The Church of Haiti is living now in a situation of challenge which puts to the test its faith in Jesus, Lord and Liberator, and urges it to show the full measure of its charitable spirit and of its hope.
Far from dividing or dispersing us, this situation must find us faithful to the breaking of the bread, the fraternal communion, the prayers, to the sharing of what we have and of what we are: time, love, anxiety, hopes, pain, prayer, solidarity in common trial. (Acts 2, 42)
Today, it is Gerard and all those whose names we do not know; tomorrow it will be us, you, I or somebody else. Where a man is humiliated and tortured; it is the whole of humanity who is humiliated and tortured.
Gerard Duclerville in charge of a Catholic association which is recognized as part of the Church of Haiti: the Catholic Volunteers.
He was arrested on December 28, 1982, at 6:50 a.m., at the time he was holding a session of the Church and the Ecclesial Communities which had been opened on December 26 by the Archbishop of Port-au-Prince.
The day he was arrested, his Grace the Archbishop approached the competent authorities. The day after and the following ones, many letters were received from the dioceses of Haiti, from Christian communities both Catholic and Protestant, to express their support and solidarity.
Certain promises have been made, we pray that they be fulfilled. As did Peter, we can say that we do not have gold, or silver (Acts 3, 6) and we can add that we do not have arms, or power; but what we have, we give it: our prayer, our privations, the sympathy which unites us in faith and in the same Lord, the same baptism, the same hope and the same God who is the Father of us all. (Eph. 4, 4-6 )
That is why we want to invite you, who share the faith in Jesus Christ, who believe in the dignity of man and who wish the respect for his fundamental rights, we want to invite you to join us to delicate the 9th of February 1983, as a day of prayer and sacrifice to obtain from the Lord the liberation of Gerard and through him, the liberation of us all.
"When one member suffers, all members suffer with him.
When one member is honored, all members are happy." (I Cor. 12, 26) This prayer will be community-wide above all and will be said in all the parish churches. It may be said in a special manner in the schools and the convents. All those who will be able to say it will add, in a spirit of penance, a privation, such as a fast, in order to express the perfect communion with the suffering of our brother who is in chains.
We will pray to the Lord for all those who are suffering, in particular, those who are in prison.
We will pray to the Lord for our brother Gerard: may his suffering, sustained in the faith, make him even more worthy of being called a Christian.
We will pray to the Lord that our stony hearts be transformed to soft hearts and that the hearts of those who are governing us be instilled with the respect for life and the respect for man as a whole being and for man in general. (Ezek. 11, 19)
We will pray to the Lord so that He may free us from attachment to money, from selfishness and from power.
We will also pray to the Lord to render Haiti free and independant of all forms of external domination and to lead it on the road to the truth, to love and to liberty.
We will pray to the Lord to give back to Haitians the spirit of sacrifice, of commitment, of responsibility and of solidarity.
May the visit of Pope John Paul II become a moment of conversion for those who will meet him as well as for those who will listen to him.
We will pray to the Lord: May His reign come!
May His will be done!
May each and everyone find everyday the bread which strengthens the body and
encourages the soul!
May each and everyone find the work which will give him back his dignity!
May we learn to forgive and to become reconciled!
May the Lord deliver us from evil! (cf. Matt. 10, 9)
From the evil of obscurantism,
of a divided society,
of the sin of a society in conflict with itself,
of the evil of a city where the authority of God and
the dignity of man created to the image of God are