At the invitation of Trócaire, Bishop Pierre-Andre Dumas come to Ireland last week and included a visit to Mullingar as part of his itinerary.  Bishop Dumas was eager to express his thanks to Bishop Smith for the generous support Haiti received from the Diocese of Meath in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake which devastated his country.

On Wednesday 20 March, Bishop Dumas preached at Mass in the Cathedral of Christ the King.  Reflecting on the readings of the day, the Bishop noted that the people of Haiti experienced the compassion and tenderness of God through the generosity of others.  “The earthquake was a terrible shock for our people but we never lost faith or hope.  God came to our aid through your kindness.”

The music for the Mass was provided by the choir of Loreto College and a presentation was made to the Bishop by the children of Presentation Senior School.

After Mass, Bishop Dumas visited St Finian’s College and St Colman’s National School.  In his words to the pupils, he asked them not to forget the “little Haitis” – places and moments in our own community and elsewhere where people suffer – especially during Lent and Holy Week.

The Diocese of Meath continues its outreach to Haiti through the work of Trócaire and Sr Mary Hardiman in the Diocese of Gonaives.  In 2010, over €330,000 was raised in parishes and schools in this diocese and the donations were sent directly to those most in need.  After assisting with the emergency response, a major part of the donations were used to rebuild educational facilities which give Haitians an opportunity to improve their lives.  Some of the funds are also used to care for the elderly and those on the margins of that fragile society.

The photos were kindly taken by Joe Duffy.