Hundreds pray to show their solidarity with Haitian victims
MORE than 1,000 worshippers offered prayers for the Haitian earthquake victims at a special Mass last night.
Fr David Weakliam, parish priest at the Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin, said the Mass was organised to "show solidarity and support for all those suffering in Haiti".
He led a special intercessional prayer for the peace of the deceased and the well-being of the bereaved and other survivors, including children orphaned by the disaster and those born during it.
He also said prayers for those who were awaiting word from their loved ones in Haiti who are missing, as well as the army of aid workers and NGOs from around the world providing emergency aid.
"We are here because we're concerned about our brothers and sisters who are suffering in Haiti," he told the congregation, which typically numbers about 250 for Sunday Mass.
"In our communities here may we truly extend the hand of friendship to others. We pray for all who have lost loved ones as well as the victims of this earthquake,"he said.
Among the faithful was 27-year-old Haitian Eslin Seide who moved to Dublin just two months ago from Port-au-Prince.
While he is relieved that his father and five brothers are safe, he remains in shock over the devastation that has all but destroyed his homeland.
However, he said the massive outpouring of support from the Irish people has helped him to cope with the tragedy.
"It's good. It's been helpful and it lets me know the Irish people want to help in their way," he said.
Dee O'Donnell, who worked as a volunteer in Haiti two years ago and organised the event, said despite the immense poverty of the country, the Haitian people were a very strong and resilient people but they would need ongoing support from the rest of the world to rebuild for many years to come.
"The Haitian motto is 'unity is our strength' and it's very important for us to come together in solidarity. To see so many people here today is a sign of encouragement for the people of Haiti," she said. All collections from the Mass will be donated to various aid agencies working in Haiti. Church collections were also held at dioceses across the country yesterday to support the Irish aid agency Trocaire and the international Catholic aid agency Caritas in its Haitian appeal.