Message from the President re: Haiti earthquake


Disaster relief resources Image: PDF

Dear members of the Fairfield University community,

Image: Fr von ArxWith the rest of the world, the Fairfield University community has been following the devastating earthquake in Haiti with sadness and concern, and as a community we are anxious to do whatever we can to be of service to the people of Haiti in their pain and suffering.

While the full scale of the disaster is still unfolding, we know that many people in Haiti have been killed and many more injured, made homeless, or left without food, water, or shelter.  Our prayers go out to the people of Haiti at this time and we will do all that we can in support of the international relief effort. I will be presiding at the 11 a.m. Mass this Sunday, January 17 in the Egan Chapel, at which point we as a University community will offer special prayers for the victims of the earthquake.

At this moment, we are also aware that there are many people in our University community, and in the broader Fairfield County community, who are in Haiti at this time and we are anxious for their well-being. There are a few alumni of the University who reside or work in Haiti, as well as several Fairfield students and family members of the students and staff in Haiti. Through the network of relationships in Haiti, our faculty and staff have been able to ascertain, at this point, that four of our students in Haiti are okay, and we will continue to do all that we can to inquire about the well-being of any other members of our community.

Fairfield University is planning both educational and relief efforts through a variety of collaborative relationships. We will be working in partnership with the Business Council of Fairfield County to help coordinate a collective relief effort. Fairfield University's chapter of the Jesuit Universities Humanitarian Action Network (JUHAN) will coordinate a working group of faculty, administrators, staff, and students to organize a public forum addressing the current humanitarian crises in Haiti. More information will become available in the next few weeks.

I would ask, too, that along with our prayers, we all give what we can to the international relief efforts that are currently underway. There are many international relief agencies that are seeking support and have established relief networks in Haiti, including Catholic Relief Services, Partners in Health founded by Dr. Paul Farmer, and Caritas Internationalis. The Jesuit Refugee Service USA is mounting an emergency relief effort to provide aid, including food and other urgently needed items, to the Haitian people. For many years, the Jesuit Refugee Service has had a grassroots presence in Haiti and has provided humanitarian assistance to displaced Haitians in both the Dominican Republic and along the Haitian border.

Speaking on Wednesday, Pope Benedict XVI said, "I appeal to the generosity of all people so that these brothers and sisters of ours who are experiencing a moment of need and suffering may not lack our concrete solidarity and the effective support of the international community. The Catholic Church will not fail to move immediately, through her charitable institutions, to meet the most immediate needs of the population."

Our prayers are with the people of Haiti at this time, and we will continue to explore ways that we can be of service as a community.

Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J.
President

Disaster relief resources Image: PDF

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on January 15, 2010