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Haiti - Religion : Christmas message from the Conference of Bishops of Haiti
03/12/2023 10:34:19

Haiti - Religion : Christmas message from the Conference of Bishops of Haiti
During this Advent season, the Catholic Bishops of Haiti, gathered in an ordinary assembly in Laborde, in the diocese of Les Cayes, delivered, as every year, their traditional Christmas message and shared with you a word of hope.

Message from the Catholic Bishops of Haiti:

"Us, Catholic Bishops of Haiti, gathered in ordinary Assembly in Laborde, in the diocese of Les Cayes, greet you, brothers and sisters, and express our closeness to you as pastors. In this time of Advent which culminates in the Christmas celebration, we feel the need to share with you a word of hope. This finds its origin in the very Event of the Nativity of the Son of God who comes to save humanity and who makes us cry : 'O Rising Sun, you are the splendour of eternal light and the sun of justice. O come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death' (Liturgies of the Hours, Antiphon of the Magnificat, December 21).

We want to take the time to contemplate the Event: the Son of God who was born for us (cf. Isaiah 9:5-6; Luke 2:6-7). His incarnation sheds new light on everything we experience today in terms of hopes and joys, misfortunes and suffering. It enlightens us and invites us to take charge of our destiny as a Nation.

In the midst of the many tragic events in our history as a people, we do not want to let ourselves be defeated or give in to despair. In this sense, we stand in solidarity with the suffering of the people and express our sympathies to all those who are affected directly or indirectly by acts of violence and insecurity during this year 2023.

We are preparing to celebrate Christmas in a dual context. On the one hand, the context of the dramatic situation of the people which is getting worse every day with the infernal influence of heavily armed groups, the galloping high cost of living, the distress of young people who are leaving the country, the manifest indifference of the authorities and the intransigence of political actors who cannot find a saving compromise. On the other hand, the context of the Synod of the Church which invites us to act differently in Haiti, namely: to listen to each other, to dialogue sincerely, to walk together, to live together, to better discern according to the Holy Spirit the meaning of History and building our Nation together.

Brothers and sisters of Haiti, Men and Women of good will, the Shepherds of Bethlehem were the first to contemplate the event of Christmas (cf. Luke 2, 8-20). Like these shepherds who watched and stood guard, we strongly urge you to a true spiritual and civic awakening which must lead us to a deep personal and collective conversion, to combat fatalism or defeatism as well as the forces of evil which has its imprint on all aspects of our social, political, economic and cultural life. This awakening will involve the patriotic commitment of everyone for the recovery of Haiti. All this will only be possible if we allow ourselves to be led by the Spirit of God (cf. Romans 8:14; Galatians 5:16.18).

The mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God makes us children of the Father and a people of brothers in Jesus who is 'the eldest of many brothers' (Romans 8:29). Is it not this spirit of brotherhood that paved the way for the founding of our Nation ? This is what we will celebrate on January 1st, 2024, remembering the 220th anniversary of our independence. So it is time to work resolutely to rediscover this fraternity which is today wounded and torn by internal and fratricidal struggles for power and by the lure of gain, by the politics of division, by systems of unbridled profit and by the hateful ideological tendencies that manipulate the actions and destiny of our people. In the name of this fraternity, we advocate the culture of dialogue as a path; common collaboration as conduct; reciprocal knowledge as a method (cf. Pope Francis, Document on Human Fraternity, February 4, 2019).

The joy that the Christmas and New Year holidays bring will be even greater if concrete acts of resolution of the crisis are manifested, namely: a broad and reasonable consensus between the different protagonists of the crisis, the commitment authorities to restore a climate of peace and stop the illegal trafficking of arms and ammunition, an end to violence, insecurity and impunity, concrete and unequivocal support from the international community for disarmament and the recovery of the country; these are so many premises for the renormalization of the life of the people and the reestablishment of
democratic institutions.

We encourage efforts at dialogue and meetings at whatever level to find a satisfactory solution to this multidimensional crisis.

To the Haitian people, to the country's elites and to all political actors, we say: This is a serious time ! 'Do not harden your heart, but listen to the voice of the Lord! » (cf. Psalm 94, 7-8). In the spirit of Christmas, be prepared to make sacrifices for the good of our country. Be true in the resolutions you make, because only “the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).

This Christmas time, we invite you, daughters and sons of Haiti, to Hope which does not deceive and which is nourished in prayer and conversion. The Child-God, who is born in Bethlehem in the most extreme destitution, is there to remind us that his very incarnation marks the beginning of the end of the domination of evil and the forces of darkness in the world. With Emmanuel, God-with-us, we can begin to hope again and begin to build a world dominated by the force of Good. With the incarnate Son of God, Jesus Christ, let us enter into this Hope! Hope for Haiti! Let's hope and work together for Haiti!

May the Child-God, the Prince of Peace, the Sun of Justice, born of the Blessed Virgin Mary, arouse in us love, a source of confidence in the future! Merry Christmas 2023 and Happy New Year 2024 !"

Given in Laborde, in the diocese of Les Cayes, on December 1st, 2023, on the feast of Saint Charles de Foucauld.

List of signatories:

Mgr. Max Leroy MÉSIDOR:
Metropolitan Archbishop of Port-au-Prince
President of the CEH
Mgr. Pierre André DUMAS:
Bishop of Anse-à-Veau / Miragoâne
Vice-President of the CEH
Mgr. Joseph Gontrand DÉCOSTE, SJ:
Bishop of Jeremiah
Secretary General of the CEH
Mgr. Désinord JEAN:
Bishop of Hinche
Bursar of the CEH
Chibly Cardinal LANGLOIS:
Bishop of Cayes
Mgr. Yves Marie PÉAN, CSC:
Bishop of Gonaïves
Mgr. Launay SATURNÉ:
Metropolitan Archbishop of Cap-Haïtien
Mgr. Marie Érick Glandas TOUSSAINT:
Bishop of Jacmel
Mgr. Quesnel ALPHONSE, SMM:
Bishop of Fort-Liberté
Mgr. Charles Peters BARTHELUS:
Bishop of Port-de-Paix

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