VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI marked the first anniversary of the Haiti earthquake on Wednesday (Jan. 12) by naming a new archbishop for the country’s capital city.
Archbishop-elect Guire Poulard will lead the Catholic Church in Port-au-Prince, succeeding Archbishop Joseph Serge Miot, who was killed in last year’s quake.
Recalling the disaster, which killed more than 230,000 people and left more than 1 million homeless, the pope on Wednesday offered Haitians a word of “hope in the current particularly difficult circumstances.”
“The time has come to rebuild, not only material structures but, and above all, civil, social and religious coexistence,” Benedict said, in a statement read at a Mass in Haiti by the Vatican’s Cardinal Robert Sarah. The quake destroyed Port-au-Prince’s Catholic cathedral along with dozens of other churches.
The pope’s message also noted “international aid which has already demonstrated great generosity with economic support and volunteers coming from all parts of the world” to rebuild the country.