Archbishop Smith will travel to Haiti this week as part of a CCCB solidarity mission organized by Development and Peace.

In addition to Archbishop Smith in his role as President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, the delegation includes the Vice President, Archbishop Paul-André Durocher, the CCCB's Assistant General Secretary, Bede Hubbard, Michael Casey, Executive Director of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP), and other officials.They will visit the Caribbean nation from December 14 to 21.

The mission has been scheduled shortly before the second anniversary of the January 2010 earthquake, the worst to hit Haiti in 200 years. More than 220,000 people were killed and the lives of three million seriously affected, including more than 300,000 people treated for serious injuries. The earthquake caused large-scale devastation in Port-au-Prince, Jacmel, Léogâne and other areas. The upcoming solidarity mission will include visits to Development and Peace and other Caritas Internationalis projects in Port-au-Prince and Jacmel.

The mission is intended to

  • celebrate the longstanding relationship between the Church in Haiti and the Church in Canada;
  • deepen the relationship of the Bishops of Canada with the Bishops of Haiti;
  • see firsthand the reconstruction and emergency aid projects that are being assisted by CCODP because of the generous donations of Canadian Catholics;
  • recognize and encourage the dedicated work of Canadian religious and other Canadian volunteers in Haiti.

Canadian Catholics contributed more than $20 million to CCODP in response to the disaster.  Within the year following the earthquake, Development and Peace had already disbursed $2.8 million to support the emergency relief projects of its 24 partners in the country, which included a number of religious communities. An additional $10 million has now also been committed for 2011 to 2013 to reconstruction projects.