Political unrest in Haiti Political unrest in Haiti  (AFP or licensors)

Haiti: Religious seminary stormed by armed gangs

The Haitian Conference of Religious decry their country’s chaotic situation, after gangs stormed the Petit Séminaire Collège St. Martial, a seminary run by the Fathers of the Holy Spirit.

By Sr. Francine-Marie Cooper

Armed gangs have been doing all in their power to show Haitians that they are now masters of the capital, Port-au-Prince, and that they can seize private property and state domains at any time.

On Monday, April 1, armed bandits continued to spread terror in several areas of the Haitian capital.

Centre of knowledge attacked

After a reiterated failed attempt to occupy the National Palace, they targeted the Petit Séminaire Collège Saint Martial, a Catholic institution, administered by the Fathers of the Holy Spirit.

The school has trained not only the majority of diocesan priests in Haiti but is also one of the largest centres of knowledge in the country.

Gang members burst into the establishment and set fire to several vehicles parked in the courtyard.

The Fathers of the Holy Spirit, commonly known as Spiritans, had to abandon the premises after witnessing the violence.

The Haitian Conference of Religious (CHR), of which the Spiritans are members, has condemned the increasingly degrading situation in Haiti, saying it stands in solidarity with the victims.

Haitian religious express “profound sorrow”

In an open letter, the Office of the CHR condemned the acts of violence and the abuse of human rights by armed gangs trying to take over the country.

The religious men and women of Haiti expressed their “profound sorrow at the dizzying situation of chaos in which [the country’s] people live today.”

They expressed their support and assured their “prayers to the Spiritan Fathers, who have been tested by the recent dramatic events at the Petit Séminaire Collège St. Martial.”

“We strongly denounce the attacks on Church institutions that are looted and desecrated by heavily armed individuals who target humble people who serve the entire population, specifically the poorest,” said the CHR.

“It is with indignation that we observe how sons and daughters of the country attack private and state property without scruples and endanger the lives of others, who seem to have no value in their eyes.”

The CHR appealed to “all those who exercise political, civil, and religious authority” to “work together persistently to restore peace and build justice in this land.”  

The religious men and women of Haiti expressed their solidarity with their brothers and sisters “in these hours of extreme tension”, and they remember especially, “all the shattered lives.”

They invited all to “pray tirelessly” for peace in their country and concluded the letter by asking “Our Lady of Perpetual Help, our tender mother,” to intercede for them, “for Haiti, with her Son Jesus, the resurrected one, to eradicate the ‘leprosy of violence’” that challenges them daily.

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03 April 2024, 14:29