Saturday, January 23, 2010

Nuncio to deliver message from Pope at Haitian archbishop's funeral

Funerals for Archbishop of Port-au-Prince Serge Miot and Vicar General Charles Benoit, who both died in the catastrophic earthquake last week in Haiti, will be held on Saturday, January 23.

During the Mass, the Apostolic Nuncio will read a message from Pope Benedict to all the country's Catholics.

Speaking to CNA outside the Apostolic Nunciature in Haiti, the Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Bernardito Auza said he expects large crowds to attend the funeral services for Archbishop Miot “because he was very beloved. Priests, religious and lay people will be present.”

“The archbishop's burial will be temporary,” the nuncio explained. “As an archbishop, he has the privilege of being laid to rest in the Cathedral, but since the Cathedral was destroyed, he will only be able to be transferred there once a new one is built, and we don't know when that will happen.”

Archbishop Auza told CNA that the Funeral Mass will start at 8 a.m. in front of the cathedral and that the main celebrant will be the President of the Conference of Bishops of Haiti, Archbishop Louis Kebreau of Cap-Haitien.

The homilist will be H.E. Bishop Joseph Lafontant, Auxiliary Bishop of Port-au-Prince.

“I will say a brief word and read the Message of the Holy Father to the Church in Haiti after the homily,” stated the nuncio, who added that a message from the Pope to the priests and faithful of Port-au-Prince will also be read.

Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, Chairman of the Board of Catholic Relief Services, will also be in attendance and will read a letter from Cardinal Francis George, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Archbishop Auza also explained the activities following the funeral, saying, “After the Mass, there will be a convoy to Lilavois (Santo 19) for the internment of the remains of Msgr. Miot, at the seat of the Bishops' Conference … Then the USCCB delegation will have a brief tour - two distribution points, Saint Francois de Sales Hospital, the offices of the CRS and Caritas, then back to the Apostolic Nunciature, where the delegation is staying.”

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