Boston priest in Haiti: 'Pray that their faith continues'

Rev. Richard ButlerRev. Richard ButlerThe Reporter has made contact with Fr. Richard J. Butler, a Boston Archdiocesan priest who arrived in Haiti on Tuesday, just hours before the quake. Butler, a senior priest at St. Mary of the Assumption in Brookline, was traveling to a Boston-affiliated hospital— St. Boniface— in the southern town of Fond des Blanc when the earthquake hit.

In an e-mail today he reports the following:

"We arrived Tuesday at 1:30 at Port au Prince and were almost at Fond des Blancs when the earthquake occurred. Thank God as we arrived at the St. Boniface Hospital the damage was minor. We quickly heard how severe was the damage elsewhere.
"We have had continuing tremors and are staying alert but we are safe."

"The St. Boniface Haiti Foundation has a home, Xavier House, for students from the Fond des Blancs area going to college and university programs in Port au Prince. They felt the tremors and immediately left just as the buillding collapsed. All are safe. (One of the students lost all his classmates who were still in class.) They spent the night on the streets and through the day Wed. arrived back at Fonds des Blancs in the early evening, having lost all their belongings etc. but rejoicing they are alive.

"The archbishop of Port au Prince, Joseph Serge-Miot, died in the quake. A few months ago I had concelebrated a Mass with him at the Hospice St. Joseph in Port au Prince. We were scheduled to be at the Hospice on this coming Saturday but as yet have not
heard details how severly damaged it is.

"A year ago the St. Boniface Hosspital Foundation opened a brand new clinic about ten miles north of Fond des Blancs. The quake severely damaged it and we are awaiting details.

"The stories go on. The people here have great faith. Pray that their faith continues."

Rev. Richard Butler is joined in Haiti right now by his twin brother Rev. Robert Butler, who serves at St. Agatha's parish in Milton. They are part of a group from Haiti visiting to help at the St. Boniface Haiti Foundation.