Bond sealed between Worcester, Haiti Catholics

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WORCESTER – Haiti’s first-ever cardinal was greeted in Worcester on Sunday by the tail end of a hurricane.

But Harvey’s rains, dousing New England on Labor Day weekend, didn’t dampen spirits on Grafton Hill as Cardinal Chibly Langlois of Haiti joined Bishop Robert McManus in celebrating Mass at St. Joseph’s Church, then attended a dinner at St. Stephen’s across the street.

Cardinal Langlois, awarded the red hat in 2014 by Pope Francis, was in Worcester to renew a covenant of support and prayer between the dioceses of Les Cayes and Worcester.

More than 1,000 Haitians live in Worcester and about 200 attend the French-language Mass at St. Joseph’s on Hamilton Street, said Sister Judith Dupuy, a Sister of St. Anne who is director of the Haitian Apostolate in the Worcester Diocese.

“For me to be here in the Diocese of Worcester is to build the communion between our two dioceses, Les Cayes and Worcester, and try to reinforce the twinning between parish and parish and diocese and diocese,” Cardinal Langlois said after the Mass.

“That’s very important for us in Haiti,” he said. “You have heard about the many needs we have.”

One of the world’s most impoverished nations, Haiti is still recovering from the battering it took from Hurricane Matthew in 2016. Storm-watchers this weekend were eyeing a new hurricane, Irma, that may be headed for Haiti in the coming week.

The covenant of support and prayer between the dioceses was signed during the Mass at St. Joseph’s, which was founded as a parish to serve Worcester’s once-large French-Canadian Catholic community, and now welcomes new immigrants from Haiti to its French-language Mass.

The “twinning” program between parishes in Worcester and Haiti is “a reminder to our people that we’re a universal church,” the Bishop McManus said. “Pope Francis has called the whole church to be a church in mission.

“Anyone who has visited the church in Haiti realizes they cannot help themselves – it’s a dire situation,” he said. “In the sense of the fraternity and the solidarity of the faith, we and other dioceses in the United States are reaching out to other parts of Haiti. It’s a joy to have His Eminence with us.”

By: Mark Sullivan | September 3, 2017


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