By now you've probably seen dozens of appeals come across your e-mail or your social networking site with suggestions about how to help the victims of a devastating earthquake in Haiti this week.
Indeed, the international community has come through in a big way. Click here for Bread for the World's list of denominational organizations that are providing assistance. I would like to add a link to Doctors Without Borders and the American Red Cross. Read the Red Cross blog. Please keep in mind that assistance will be needed beyond the short term.
It's too early to tell the exact number of victims but the latest estimates (as of Wednesday) was that thousands of people were killed and up to 3 million people affected in the poorest country in our hemisphere.
Each of those persons who died, was injured or left homeless was a father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter, cousin, best friend.
How do we hold each and everyone of those people in our hearts and in our prayers? The website Gratefulness.org offers us an opportunity to light candles. As of this morning, more than 8.8 million candles had been lit by people in 242 countries. The candle lighting is prefaced with these words:
With the recent earthquake in Haiti, there are many people suffering right now. We have to come together and do what we can to help them. From donating money, clothes and food to your prayers. Join Curvy Island Sista (CIS) in lighting a candle for Haiti.
Words are not necessary as you light your web candle, but if you want to use a prepared prayer, here is a great one from Catholic Relief Services.
God of all creation, as we weep with our family in Haiti, console us. In this time of crisis, open our eyes to look beyond the disaster to see Christ in our brothers and sisters in Haiti, as Christ sees us. Be with us as we stand in solidarity with those living and working in Haiti. Be with us in our mourning and guide our efforts to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, comfort the grieving and stand for justice. With your mercy, sustain us at this time as we continue to work for peace and justice. Amen