The funeral for the Archbishop outside the Cathedral in Port-au-Prince. Credit: Katie Orlinsky/ Caritas 2010
More than a thousand people gathered in front of the ruins of Port-au-Prince’s cathedral Saturday for the funerals of Archbishop Joseph Serge Miot and Vicar General Mons. Charles Benoit.
The Archbishop of Port-au-Prince and the Vicar General had been killed in the cathedral after it collapsed during a powerful earthquake on 12 January that has left 150,00 dead in the Haitian capital alone.
Many of the crowd were homeless or would have lost relatives in the earthquake. Many were bandaged, dressed in the best clothes they could salvage.
Auxiliary Archbishop Joseph Lafontant told the crowd, “A lot of Haitians are asking, ‘Why did this happen?’ Many are even asking, ‘Why would God cause this?’ God wants to unite the people. It is a way to build a new Haiti.
“For anyone who has turned away from God, now is the time to return.”
Archbishop Lafontant praised the life and work of Archbishop Miot as a vocal powerful champion for the poor and disaffected.
Archbishop Miot, 63, became Archbishop of Port-au-Prince in 2008. He was ordained a priest in 1975 and was consecrated a bishop in 1997. He was a member of the Saint Jacques order of missionary priests, founded in 1951 by the bishop of Gonaives, Haiti.
“In our prayer, we recall that Jesus, too, wept before the tomb of one whom he loved,” said Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, a concelebrant at the funeral Mass, reading a message from Chicago Cardinal Francis E. George.
Archbishop Dolan is the chairman of the board of Catholic Relief Services, a Caritas member in the USA.
Bishop Pierre Dumas, President of Caritas Haiti, said, “He was a very simple man who didn’t take anything for himself.
“His attention for the poor was almost obsessive. He used to go to Bel-air, one of the poorest districts to help people. He was affectionate but he always said what he thought and defended his opinions to the end. He was a man of prayer, but in a simple way.”