Haiti Weeps

As rescue and aid efforts continue in Haiti, we will update this page with news and reflections from our editors, bloggers and friends.

Listen to a conversation with John Rivera of Catholic Relief Services about the agency's relief efforts.


View a slide show of images from Haiti. Photos courtesy Reuters and Catholic News Service.

Read Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete's reflection on the theological questions posed by the earthquake. Michael Sean Winters considered some of the same questions yesterday.

Follow reports from Haiti on our Signs of the Times page.

Read commentary by Fathers James Martin and Peter Schineller on "In All Things."

Donate to disaster relief efforts via Catholic Relief Services or Jesuit Relief Services.

January 21, 2010

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Michael Callahan
9 years ago
Haiti or Hell…

Surrounded by massive death and despair.

I got the call…
How can I go?
How can I refuse?
How could anyone…?
Yesterday, I received a request to travel to Haiti in 30 days or so.
A friend of a friend is a medical doctor, and volunteer with Oxfam America, and all too familiar with these types of urgent medical support missions, and asked for our help.
I believe this will involve burial of the many dead, and mass graves registration and organization, or some such thing.
I don’t have all the details yet.
Not sure that I want to.
What can you say to something like that?
I can’t imagine any place on this earth or Hell, that I would least like to be, than in Haiti right now.
Surrounded by massive death and despair.
I also can’t imagine a more noble mission, nor important place to be, during a humanitarian crisis such as this.
The only thing more important in my life was being allowed the honor and privilege of holding my sister Dianne’s hand as she passed away last May from pancreatic cancer.
Normally, we see things on the news, or the net, and express our concerns and condolences from afar.
Wishing the best for the victims, but resigned to the fact that there just wasn’t all that much we could do for them personally.
Not really, not realistically.
You’ve got a job, family, pets, bills and mortgages to pay.
Maybe you’ve even daydreamed about actually being there, helping, being involved, while comfortably believing you won‘t ever have to.
Doesn’t make you a bad person.
I know I have.
However, to be sitting here now, on my comfortable bed, with my laptop and puppydog Charly, both balanced on my lap, I am stunned and honored to be offered such an opportunity.
I’m thinking of where I’m headed, and dreading what I shall find.
I’m thinking of what I’ll witness, while trying to help mankind.
But most of all, I’m hoping I’m worthy, and hoping I’m ready.
This shall be a life changing experience to say the least.
Apprehension and anticipation, can’t begin to describe my emotions.
Just last week, or I should say, all my life, I could not have imagined ever being in the position of having the opportunity to assist in a world crisis , and actually make a difference.
Will it make a difference?
I can only hope so. However small it may be.
I must convince myself that the only answer to that question is an undeniable and absolute YES.
I’ve got to justify to myself, my mind, my heart, and my soul, how I could allow myself to be exposed to such unimaginable tragedy.
Yet, how could I not?
And shame on me for even pondering that question.
It’s so not about me.
This burden is on the victims, and if I can lighten that burden, just a little bit, then I’m going to try my very best to do so.
If I go, I’m going to have to live with this for the rest of my life.
If I don’t go, I’m going to have to live with myself, for the rest of my life.
God help me.
God help them…

I’m Michael Callahan, a 53 year old private pilot, published author, small business owner, and world traveler, currently involved in the development of an “animal rights, for animals wronged” Blog at http://thecryingturtle.wordpress.com .
I’ve also worked with The New England Aquarium, involved in the transportation of endangered sea turtles after rehabilitation.
As detailed above, I’m facing some difficult times ahead, and sometimes it just helps to write about these things.
Although volunteering for animal rescue missions has been a pleasure over the years, I’m not sure how I’m going to handle this vital mission.
Certainly with compassion, and hopefully with all the dignity it deserves, and the stamina it shall require.
And maybe, just maybe, I can shed a little dose of reality into the lives of some people that have become spoiled and so comfortable in their everyday lives, that they just don’t fully appreciate how good most of us really have it.
If you would be interested in further updates as things progress, please contact me at http://Thecryingturtle.wordpress.com or Waterflydog@aol.com

Michael Callahan


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