Pray for Haiti Earthquake Victims

Contributed by: The Rt. Rev. William H. Stokes, Bishop of New Jersey

seal of the diocese of Haiti
The seal of the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti

Dear People and Friends of the Diocese of New Jersey,

Weep with those who weep…Romans 12:15

Today Haiti, which has suffered so deeply in so many ways for so many years, was devastated by a 7.2 magnitude Earthquake, greater than the 7.0 Earthquake of 2010 which killed more than 200,000 people.  So far reported casualties from today’s earthquake have been in the hundreds, but many more deaths and injuries are expected to be reported.

Fr. Robin Pierre, Regional Director of Haitian Ministry for the Diocese of New Jersey, who serves out of St. Elizabeth’s Church in Elizabeth, wrote the following to me:

I share the suffering of my brothers and sisters in the South Department, and especially in Cayes and St. Louis in the South. I fear that the intensity of the human and material loss in Haiti may once again be unimaginable. I and the Haitian Ministry of the Diocese of New Jersey are prepared to do all we can to help the people of Haiti recover. Lord have mercy on Haiti. I humbly ask you, my dear Bishop to hold Haiti in your prayer at this sorrowful time.

In response to the cataclysmic disaster unfolding in Haiti, and in response to Fr. Pierre’s request, I call on all churches and people of the Diocese of New Jersey to offer special prayers for the people of Haiti tomorrow and in the days to come.  Pray for those who have died.  Pray for those who have been injured.  Pray for those who have lost their homes and shelter.  Pray for those whose loved ones have been killed or injured.  Pray for our brothers and sisters of the Diocese of Haiti which is part of our own Province II.  Pray for the government of Haiti.  Pray for all who called to respond to immediate search, rescue and recovery efforts.  Pray for all, including the people of the Diocese of New Jersey and The Episcopal Church, who will be called to assist Haiti in the days, weeks, months and years to come.

I was Rector of St. Paul’s Church in Delray Beach, Florida when the 2010 Earthquake struck Haiti.  I developed the Litany which appears below for that occasion.  Sadly, it has again become an appropriate liturgy to pray. I commend it for your use.

We will be monitoring the situation and be seeking ways in which we as a diocesan community can respond meaningfully to this catastrophe.

God bless you and God hold I in mercy the people of Haiti.

Faithfully yours in Christ.

Bishop Stokes's Signature





The Right Reverend William H. Stokes
12th Bishop of the Diocese of New Jersey


Litany in Response to a Natural Disaster

Holy God, Creator of heaven and earth,
Have mercy upon us.

Holy and Mighty, redeemer of the world,
Have mercy upon us.

Holy Immortal One, Sanctifier of the faithful,
Have mercy upon us.

Holy, blessed and glorious Trinity, One God
Have mercy upon us.

Remember not, Lord Christ, our offenses, neither reward us according to our sins.  Spare us, good Lord, spare your people, whom you have redeemed by your cross and passion, and by your mercy preserve us forever.
Spare us, good Lord. 

From all natural disasters: from hurricanes, fires, tornados earthquakes, blizzards and floods,
Good Lord, deliver us 

From all disease and sickness, from famine and violence,
Good Lord, deliver us 

In all times of sorrow; in all times of joy; in the hour of death and at the day of judgment,
Good Lord, deliver us

Hear our prayers, O Christ our God
O Christ, hear us. 

For the repose of the souls of those who have died in this disaster, that your holy angels may welcome them into Paradise,
O Christ, hear us. 

Console all who grieve: those whose loved ones have died, whose families are torn; whose homes have been destroyed, whose possessions have been ruined, who are now unemployed,
O Christ, hear us. 

Heal those who suffer from injury and illness, emotional and spiritual distress; give them hope and encouragement to meet the days ahead,
O Christ, hear us.

Give food to the hungry and drink to the thirsty,
O Christ, hear us 

Give rest to weary and peace to the restless,
O Christ, hear us 

Give strength to the government of Haiti, to the World Community and all others in authority and leadership; grant them wisdom and power to act in accordance with your will,
O Christ, hear us.

Bless the bishops, clergy and people of the Haiti who strive to do your service in the midst of their own grief and pain; give them fortitude to serve as you would serve,
O Christ, hear us.

Grant your people grace to witness to your word; to open their hearts in love; and to give generously from their abundance, that they may bring forth the fruits of your Spirit,
O Christ, hear us. 

Forgive us Lord, for all negligence and hardheartedness, for inequities and injustices that have resulted in bitterness and strife, in injury and death,
O Christ, hear us.

In the midst of incomprehensible loss, grant us eyes that see, ears that hear and hands that work so that we may discern how you would have us respond,
O Christ, hear us.

We give you thanks, Lord God for all agencies and individuals who assist in relief efforts; continue in them the good work you have begun, through them your presence is made known,
We thank you O, Lord

You are our refuge and strength,
Our very present help in trouble

In you Lord is our Hope,
And we shall never hope in vain

Glory to God whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine.
Glory to God from generation to generation in the Church, and in Christ Jesus for ever.

A Prayer for the Victims of the Earthquake in Haiti

Holy God, source of life, lover of souls, out of the depths we call to you; in the face of incomprehensible anguish and sorrow, we lift the cries of our distress and implore you to show mercy upon those who are suffering from the destruction of the earthquake in Haiti.  We pray for those who have died and for their loved ones who grieve, asking you to hold them in the arms of your love; we pray for those who have been injured in body, mind and spirit and ask you to heal them; we pray for those who are homeless and wandering, for families torn asunder and ask you to shelter them. Strengthen the hands and hearts of those who assist in relief efforts and grant us all firm resolve to stand with our neighbors who are in need, to love them and to offer our generous support of them in this their time of trouble; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and forever