Haitians Turn to Charismatic Prayer

Emotions pour out during an all-night prayer vigil at SS. Joachim and Anne Church in Queens, where charismatic Catholicism is practiced. The faithful reach out with open hands or photos of loved ones as the Rev. Jean-Moise Delva holds the EucharistMore Photos »

By ANNE BARNARD Published: November 24, 2010

The pastor likes to sing in tongues on his daily walk around the park. Certain women in his parish say so many Hail Marys on their own that he no longer assigns them the prayers as penance for sins; instead, he may prescribe a pedicure. On a Saturday night in the basement of his mostly Haitian church in Queens, in a bare white room vibrating with hymns and exclamations, a young woman may find herself channeling the Holy Spirit to reveal news from Haiti.

A Catholic service on a hillside overlooking a refugee camp set up on a golf course in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The nightly service competes with two Protestant services, where worshipers also hold on to familiar rituals.More Photos »

The earthquake that killed an estimated quarter-million Haitians 10 months ago has made the noisy devotion of the parish, SS. Joachim and Anne, even more exuberant. On Jan. 12, barely two hours after the quake visited devastation on their homeland, Haitian immigrants flooded the church, dancing, singing, waving their arms above their heads — and praising God. Amid the lamentations and the laying on of hands and the surprising deluge of thanksgiving from people who did not yet know if their relatives were alive or dead, they ran out of tissues.  Read more…

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About carlos

I'm a curious person, of reasonable intellect, "on the beach" (retired) and enjoying my interest in anthropology, language, civil rights, and a few other areas. I've been a hippie/student/aerospace tech writer in the '60s, a witness to the Portuguese revolution in the ‘70s, a defense test engineer and witness to the Guatemalan genocide in the '80s, and a network engineer for an ISP in the '90s. Now I’m a student and commentator until my time is up. I've spent time under the spell of the Mesoamerican pyramids and the sweet sound of the Portuguese language. I've lived in Europe, traveled in Brazil, Central America, Iceland, New Zealand, and other places. My preferred mode of travel is with a backpack and I eat (almost) anything local. Somehow, many of the countries I have been to have had civil unrest (for which I was not responsible). I'm open to correspond with anyone who might share my liberal, humanist interests. I live in San Buenaventura, California.
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