Haiti: Five years after the earthquake seminarians move out of tents


Port-au-Prince, Haiti (Sunday, 01/11/2015, Gaudium Press) The reconstruction of Haiti, after the devastating earthquake of January 12, 2010, has been a long and demanding task. For five years, the Catholic Church has been one of the most consistent forces to support the recovery of the country, contributing not only to the pastoral and humanitarian assistance, but also in financing construction projects aiming to prevent similar disasters.

After five years of the earthquake seminarians still lived in tents 1.jpg
After five years of the earthquake seminarians still lived in
tents – Photo: Tom Tracy – Florida Catholic

For their willingness to help, you can often hardly tell that the Church has also been a victim of the disaster and its members must also suffer hardships and sacrifices.

Notable examples of this reality are the candidates to the priesthood of the Minor Seminary of Port-au-Prince, who after the earthquake had to live in emergency tents donated by the United States. Despite the clearly temporary nature of their accommodation, the seminarians had to sleep in tents for the last five years, until they were able to move to a new building in December last year.

Providential building

The new building serves the purpose according to Miami Archbishop 2.jpg
The new building serves the purpose according
to Miami Archbishop – Photo Tom Tracy
– Florida Catholic

The new building was not originally built for this purpose, as it was initially done to be a medical center or even a guest house and funds were raised in parishes of the Archdiocese of Miami. But the critical situation of the seminarians motivated the change in plans.

“The building was not designed to be a seminary, but I believe that God’s hand was in whoever did this design because it fits the purpose of a seminar very well,” said the Archbishop of Miami, Thomas G. Wenski who visited the campus and celebrated the Eucharist last December.

Seminarians have better accommodations for their formation 3.jpg
Seminarians have better accom-
modations for their formation
– Photo: Tom Tracy
– Florida Catholic

Moise Jean Zetrenne, one of the seminarians who survived the earthquake, is in his third year of Theology, and told Catholic News Service how satisfied he was with the new building. “We are very happy, because we were in a very difficult situation, and I think now we can study better, sleep better and become priests for God’s people,” he said. “We thank you all for this, and pray for you.”

The building is meant to survive hurricanes and earthquakes, and is located in an area with no distractions. Archbishop Wenski said he expects more trees to be planted to provide rest areas for seminarians and possibly adding a basketball court or a similar space for physical activities. “Certainly even as it is today is much better than what they had,” he said. “Although this is a temporary seminar it can last for many years till we can find funds to provide for a permanent seminary to replace this one”.

With information from Catholic News Service.

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