(Port au Prince, Haiti) – Haiti is experiencing the worst historical moment in regard to economic and social stability in recent decades. The health emergency affects not only the poorest country in America but a country punished by several natural disasters that have blocked the economy and the activity of a very religious population.
Scala News received the testimony of Father Renold Antoine, a Redemptorist missionary who tells how, despite the economic blockade of the quarantine to avoid a major tragedy for the covid, the Catholic population is preparing the national holiday for its patron saint, Our Mother of Perpetual Help, on June 27.
“Without wanting to be a prophet of bad luck and without wanting to draw too hasty conclusions about this particular year, we all are of the opinion that this year brings an accumulation of new shocks. Some dare to call it the year of all records. This is due not only to the economic crisis into which our world has fallen but also to the fear that reigns in every one of being contaminated by Covid-19, as well as the feeling that death will come suddenly like out of the heaven”.
In the Haitian context, explains Father Renold, the situation is much worse because there are other realities more virulent than the coronavirus: corruption, misery, insecurity, unhealthy to name but a few. This tragic reality reminds me of what the psalmist says in Psalm 54:10-12: “I see discord and violence in the city. Within, crimes and misfortunes; within, iniquity, travail and pitfalls, and they do not cease in its squares, abuse and deception”.
It is in this atmosphere the Haitian people are preparing to celebrate their patron saint, Our Mother of Perpetual Help, on June 27th. The theme chosen for this year is: “O Mary, Mother of the Haitian people, help us in this suffering”.
A series of activities are already underway to mark this important date: 30 days of prayers, from 1st to 30th June at noon, 3 days of prelude to novena, from 15th to 17th June at 3 pm led by the group Solèy Lafwa. And finally the national novena in ten dioceses of the country from 18 to 26 June. On the Feast Day, June 27th, there will be three Eucharistic celebrations and a procession with the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help that will depart from the Cathedral of Port-au-Prince towards the chapel of Notre-Dame-du -Perpétuel-Secours in Bélair. At the end of the procession, the Archbishop of Port-au-Prince, in this case Msgr. Max-Leroy Mesidor, will make the solemn blessing of the Haitian people and the city of Port-au-Prince, as this took place on February 5, 1882.
However, taking into account the current situation, only a small group will take part in the activities in the sanctuary. All activities taking place there will be broadcast live on radio, television, and social media.
During these periods of prayer, praise and thanksgiving, the Haitian people turn to Mary, Notre-Dame-du-Perpétuel-Secours, to ask to cure us of the Coronavirus, of corruption, of insecurity, the misery that constitutes the “smallpox” of our society.
May the intercession of our Heavenly Mother renew the human and intellectual energies of the Haitian people so that the people may be devoted to the cause of our country and so that our people may experience new growth in humanity and always be regenerated with the power of her Son Jesus Christ, who died and rose again for our salvation.
Father Renold Antoine, Redemptorist missionary