.- Haitians have remembered the victims of Januaryâs devastating earthquake with three days of mourning and fasting. Stores, gas stations and banks have closed down and the roads have been emptied to make way for the eventâs processions.
âTime has stopped in the different parts of Port-au-Prince,â reported Mathilde Magnier, Caritas Communications Officer in Port-au-Prince.
From dusk until dawn in Port-au-Prince, loudspeakers broadcast the Gospel, sermons and prayers. Writing in a report on the Caritas blog, Magnier described the mood as âa strange atmosphere of joy, despair and reverence.â
She said that Catholics, Protestants and followers of voodoo joined in the observance.
Since the main places of worship were destroyed, ceremonies took place in the cityâs waste grounds, schoolyards and temporary shelter camps.
The solemn mourning processions were made up of people openly grieving. Women were dressed in white, children wore their best clothes and men tied black armbands of mourning around their arms.
âThose who can walk help the injured in their wheelchairs and support those hobbling on crutches. Some sing and dance while others are prostrate,â Magnier wrote.
Thousands of faithful gathered on the steps of the destroyed cathedral for a memorial Mass celebrated by Fr. Serge Chadic, Director General of Caritas Haiti.
A man named Janel told Caritas that all his family members survived the quake. He was at the Mass to support those who were suffering.
âWe were all deeply affected by the quake, we must help each other. That is why I am here,â he explained.
A woman named LÃ©rÃ©nie was also among those at the cathedral. She sat on a piece of rubble in the middle of the crowd, holding her four-month-old baby in her arms. Her husband and two brothers were killed in the earthquake.
âThese are difficult days. As Haitians we have to mourn our dead together,â she commented to Caritas.
LÃ©rÃ©nie said she had to cling to her faith. âThat and my boy are all I have left,â she said.