Catholics in Haiti in Solidarity with Kidnapped

Special Masses held Thursday, April 15, in all 10 Dioceses of Nation

Catholics Haiti
© Fides

In all 10 dioceses of the country, Catholics in Haiti held special masses on Thursday, April 15 to show their solidarity with the victims of kidnappings. In the parish of Saint-Pierre in Pétion-Ville, the country’s bishops concelebrated mass and again demanded the release of all victims of kidnapping and an end to general insecurity, reported Fides News Agency.

On the second Sunday of Easter, while the universal Church celebrated Divine Mercy, the Catholic Church of Haiti, in particular the Society of Priests of Saint Jacques and the Archdiocese of Cap Haitien, lamented the kidnapping of 5 of their priests, two nuns and 3 relatives of Father Jean Arnel Joseph. The kidnapping took place yesterday, Sunday, April 11, in the town of Croix-des-Bouquets, near the capital Port-au-Prince. Father Stevenson Montinard, a priest of Saint Jacques, confirmed the news to Fides source and asked for prayers for the release of Fathers: Michel Briand (of French nationality), Jean Nicaisse Milien, Joël Thomas, Evens Joseph, and Jean-Hugues Baptiste ( priest of the Archdiocese of Cape Haitian, medical student) and Sister Agnès Bordeau, of the Congregation of Providence of Pommeraye, of French nationality, and of Sister Anne Marie Dorcelus, of the Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Child Jesus.

The Bishops’ Conference on the 15th also asked for all church bells in the country to “speak” in the spirit of communion, commemoration, and prayers for people who are victims of kidnappings, violence, and insecurity in general.

Meanwhile, the faithful gathered in the parish of Saint Pierre received the bishops with the song “Nou Bouke” (“We are tired”, a song that is sung at every popular demonstration against insecurity), while activists, carrying posters occupied the corridors of the temple in the sign of protest.

“We strongly condemn all kidnappings in the country”, said the chairman of the Haiti Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Launay Saturné. In this context, the bishop emphasized that the Haitian Bishops’ Conference and the Conference of Haitian Religious call for the immediate and unconditional release of all abducted people in the country. “We pray for an end to insecurity and kidnappings. We dream of a Haiti without insecurity, without kidnappings, and without violence. We pray for the release of all abductees and for the conversion of all those involved in the kidnappings”, the Bishop urged and called on all citizens to do their part to create a new Haiti and reminded the authorities of their duty to take responsibility.

Following the service, human rights activists gathered for a spontaneous demonstration, during which the police fired tear gas. A vehicle was also set on fire on the sidelines of the demonstration.

On April 15, the Catholic Church of Haiti also ordered the closure of Catholic schools, universities, and all other institutions in order to denounce the recent kidnappings of church officials. In the capital, shopping centers were also closed due to the protest.