Bishop Pierre Dumas, president of Caritas Haiti, met with Pope Benedict XVI Wednesday to report on the devastation in his country, urging that churches be rebuilt and that they have charitable facilities alongside them.
In a news conference arranged by the Sant’Egidio community in Rome, Dumas also updated the damage to the church. He said 15 churches, including the Cathedral, were destroyed in Port-au-Prince. He also said that more than 45 nuns, 20 religious seminarians and 30 diocesan seminarians had been killed in the Jan. 12 earthquake in addition to the archbishop, vicar and chancellor of the archdiocese.
Parish priests are being encouraged to stay with their people in the tent villages that have materialized throughout the city and to celebrate Mass in those locations.
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Sunday Masses are being celebrated in improvised locations near the destroyed churches, he said. The church is giving special attention to hearing confessions and to providing help for psychologically traumatized people.
Dumas said he also told the pope that the archdiocese's seminary must be rebuilt so the church can begin educating priests again.