|Date:||January 18th 2010|
I know that over these days all of you have followed the great drama of Haiti attentively and with compassion. The earthquake on12 January was inconceivably powerful and has sown death and destruction. There are very many amongst the dead, millions without a home and we can add to that the complete destabilisation of a country which already lacked real structures of Government.
For us Salesians the most serious losses are, obviously, the loss of human life: the lives of so many of our young people, of children (around 500) and of three of our confreres.
The earthquake has destroyed practically all of our works in Port-au-Prince. The Provincial House was seriously damaged and is uninhabitable for all practical purposes. The Technical School, ENAM, has been totally destroyed. The Petites Ecoles of Fr Bohnen has collapsed. The “Lakay” Street Childrens' Home has been destroyed. The Postnovitiate and Study Centre (of Philosophy, also for other Congregations) is completely uninhabitable and must be razed to the ground and rebuilt The Thorland centre has been half destroyed: the areas which accommodated the confreres and youth groups has collapsed. The school at Petion Ville is seriously damaged. You will find photos of all the above in the ANS reports. We need to add to this the damage sustained by Houses belonging to the FMA.
Our confreres in Haiti have been sorely tried, and undoubtedly they are looking to us. They are calling for the help and support which will allow Don Bosco to continue his work in this country and which will give them, too, a sign of hope for continuing their journey as Salesians. For days now they have been living in the open, along with thousands of other people. We are extremely grateful to the Santo Domingo Province which has proven itself a “neighbour” and has arranged for timely distribution of food and prime necessities, and by bringing over a confrere who was seriously injured.
This letter of mine is intended to be a heartfelt and, at the same time, strong appeal for solidarity from around the Salesian Congregation. As everyone tends to a sick member in the family, we too, moved by immense “com-passion” would like to take on the burden of this extraordinary need and come to the practical help for this small Vice Province now so severely tried.
I would like to tell you of my joy at seeing that our poorest provinces (from Africa, Asia and the Americas) have been those to respond fastest and most spontaneously to this appeal for solidarity.
So I am inviting all Provinces and Salesian Houses around the world to send significant help for our confreres in a state of absolute need. After the initial emergency (food, water, temporary arrangements…) we need to think of a rebuilding plan which will require a lot of energy and resources. So I am turning to you and even more insistently, to provinces with greater resources. In Don Bosco's name I assure you that the Lord will bless this act of charity of yours. Be generous, then, even if it means that some particular project needs to be put on hold for a while!
As you have seen the Congregation has indicated a special account for use by external benefactors, set up by the New Rochelle Development Office. For your own donations I would ask you to send them directly to the 'Direzione Generale', pointing out the purpose as an offering destined for Haiti. This will allow a more direct and immediate intervention which I have personally agreed on with the Provincial in Haiti.
My dear confreres, our Father Don Bosco, I believe, would put his trust in us at this time to be radical and have total trust in Providence. This is why, in Don Bosco's name, I make this request on behalf of our poorest brothers!
They will be grateful for what you can do. May God bless you. This will be our best way to express our faithfulness to our common Father in preparation for the Feast of Don Bosco.
In Him I express my great affection and esteem.
Rome, 18 January 2010
Don Pascual Chávez V., SDB
|Address:||Direzione Generale Opera Don Bosco
Via della Pisana
Casella Postale 18333
00163 Roma - Bravetta