Wednesday, June 17, 2009
"My Father has Died"...Father Jean-Juste and Ti Plas Kazo
Father Gerry will be buried tomorrow in Cavaillon, Haiti. He requested he be buried next to his mother.
However, his funeral Mass will be at the Cathedral in downtown Port-au-Prince at 8 AM and the funeral procession will then lead south to Cavaillon.
On Haiti’s roads this eighty mile trip takes about four hours. Who knows how long it will take tomorrow.
I walked around Ti Plas Kazo this morning and visited Saint Claire’s Church. There were signs hanging above big streets and signs spray painted on walls bidding "adieu" to Fr. Jean Juste.
We can read all we want about the great things that Father Gerry did during his life. But talking to the people in Ti Plas Kazo really shows me how much he was loved.
The lady above was sitting outside of the locked Saint Claire's Church with her daughter. She kept repeating, "Papa'm mouri". (My Father has died.)
Jean-Claude is the 24 year old young man who has worked for Fr. Gerry since he was 13years old. He helped coordinate Father's busy schedule and is in charge of the church and grade school. He sleeps upstairs in the church above the altar and even has his own office in the church with twenty four hour internet.
Jean Claude described to me at the presbytery how Father was arrested in 2005 by the Haitian National Police (HNP). The police surrounded the presbytery. Jean-Claude showed me how Father stood in the room with his hands folded in prayer in front of his face...waiting alone.
The police entered and beat both Father and Jean-Claude.
After the police finished with Father they pushed him through a window with glass and the police chief yelled at the other police men to break Father’s legs. The police refused because, according to Jean Claude, they were “friends” of Father.
Father Gerry was taken to jail and charged with murder. But the real plan, as we all know, was to stop Father from being elected President of Haiti.
Pictured is Jean-Claude outside the window of the presbytery at Saint Claire's.