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October 21, 1994     The Message
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October 21, 1994
 

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12 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Haitians greet Father Aristide with religious few o sassination attempt, Father Aristide was expelled from his religious order, the Salesians, in 1988 for allegedly inciting Haitians to hatred and vio- lence. He remains a Catholic priest, though he cannot pub- licly practice his ministry. On the eve of his return as president, the capital city ex- ploded into spontaneous carni- vals in many its the poorest neighborhoods. People no longer cowed by paramilitary enforcers took to the streets and partied long into the night to celebrate Fa- ther Aristide's impending ar- rival. They danced through streets festooned with colorful banners and portraits of the returning president, and along walls coated with new paint applied by volunteer brigades. From the tops of cars, they shouted Aristide slogans and waved their hands. Painters were still at work on the bandshell of the central Champ des Mars square while a band pounded out throbbing rhythms to a nighttime audi- ence. Residents of one of the most wretched slums, Cite Soleil, hauled what belongings they had outside to display them along with homemade shrines to the returning president. Father Aristide was depicted in liturgical garb in paintings PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (CNS) "-- Thousands of Haitians greeted the return of their exiled president, Father Jean-Bertrand Aristide, with a religious fervor that showed a regard for the priest-president beyond his political identity. "We see him as a prophet," one resident of the poor neigh- borhood of Carrefour, south of Port-au-Prince, told The Wash- ington Post. "He is all our dreams come true." "Oh, he is God's son, without question," said Denise Ven- dredi who was watching the arrival ceremony Oct. 15 on a television her neighbor set up inside a shrine he had built on his front porch, the newspaper reported. At the ceremony which re- turned him to the presidential palace, Father Aristide called to the crowd: "Has my return brought you hope?" "Yes," thousands gathered for the event shouted back. Well before he became in- volved in his crusade for politi- cal office, Father Aristide was a revered figure among the Haitian poor -- who form the vast majority of the country's population. He was well-known as a fire- brand critic of the Haitian elite and what was regarded as their perpetuation of a class- ridden, unjust social system. A survivor of at least one as- COMPLETE INSURANCE SERVICE Auto! Home! Fire & Life! Your Personal Service Agent James L. Will Ins. Agency Inc. 1925 W. Franklin Street 425-318; MEMORIAL HIGH SCHOOL BAND BOOSTER RUMMAGE SALE OCTOBER 29th 8:00 A.M. on several slum walls. A plane carrying the only man ever democratically elected as Haiti's president flew from Andrews Air Force Base near Washington on Oct. 15 with U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher and scores of other dignitaries on hoard. "(This means) liberation for the people," said Florence Pierre, 38. "We have been drowning in misery for years." By dawn, Haitians were al- ready gathering outside the palace in a square decorated with hundreds of posters of Aristide strung from lamp- posts. Thousands of heavily armed U.S. troops and squadrons of tanks provided security for Fa- ther Aristide and stood by to make sure celebrations of his return did not get out of hand. "Never, never, never again should one more drop of blood flow," Father Aristide said in his speech from behind a clear, bullet-proof screen. "We are thirsty for peace. Let the weapons be silenced." "Today we embark on a new beginning -- ready to share peace, reconciliation and re- spect among all our citizens," he said. "No to violence, no to vengeance, yes to reconcilia- tion," Father Aristide said. He called on his people to work together with the mili- tary, which ruled with a brutal hand after ousting him, and he pleaded for restraint. "If a military attache (armed civilian auxiliary) falls into your hands, turn him over to the proper authorities. Every day, walk hand in hand with Haitian military who want peace," Father Aristide said. Father Aristide was deposed as the country's first popularly elected leader on Sept. 30, 1991, in a military coup widely held to have been led by Brig. Gen. Philippe Biamby and Port-au-Prince police chief Lt. Col. Michel Francois. The two men brought in Lt. Gen. Raoul Cedras, the Halt- tan military chief, ks who played the role than three years. The| installed two two prime ministers tenure. Although tide supporters, ganizers and activists were killed; beaten by the supporters, the that one day the man' sonifies Haiti's poor turn. That return ble in September agreed to resign to military invasion. U.S. troops entered try peacefully to parture of the ship. Francois fled to can Republic and C Biamby resigned fore Father and the two flew Panama on Oct. 13. Head of USCC international hopes for peace, justice in Ha tion of the elected government will signal a new beginning for justice, peace and reconcilia- tion in that troubled nation," he said. For all Haitians to enjoy true democracy and an invigo- rated economy "the violence, mistrust and animosities of the past must give way to a sense of common purpose and shared destiny," Bishop Reilly said. As Haitians were preparing for Father Aristide's scheduled return Oct. 15, the military leaders of a coup which ousted him three years ago were set- I WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The head of the U.S. bishops' International Policy Commit- tee said he hopes the return of exiled Haitian president Fa- ther Jean-Bertrand Aristide to office will signal peaceand jus- tice in the Caribbean nation. "Great efforts at tolerance, cooperation and good faith will be demanded of every institu- tion in Haiti," Bishop Daniel P. Reilly, chairman of the U.S. Catholic Conference commit- tee, said in a statement Oct. 14. "We pray that the restora- HAUB STEAK HOUSE PRIME STEAKS -SEAFOOD - CHICKEN LARGE PARTY ROOMS Haubstadt, Ind. (I] 768-6462 AT MEMORIAL HIGH SCHOOL An invitation to travel with MUSIC DIRECTOR/LITURGIST Full-time position Degree and Experience Preferred i !,l Send Resume to: SEARCH COMMII-FEE St. John the Baptist Catholic Church 625 Frame Road Newburgh, Indiana 47630 Fax (812)853-6182 i , i ,ll Father Harold Knueven in 1995 for A Personal Lenten Journey To Rome Attend Outdoor Palm Sunday PaPa/ Mass in St. Peter's Square April 3-10, 1995 or I WALKED TODAY WHERE JESUS WALKED A Spiritual Joumey in the Holy Land JUNE 2 - 14, 1995 Optional add-on ROME- I day, 2 nights Call or write Rev. Harold Knueven - Our Lady of Greenwood Church - 335 S. Meridian Street- Greenwood, Indi- ana 46143 - (317) 888-2861 tling into their owri Panama, forced out sure from the and the fear their be threatened by seeking victims of rule. Haitian grievarJC sometimes taken out confrontations on Both supporters Aristide, and now-collapsed torship have been public by Father Aristide have been calliflg ori to forgo taking the their own hands tablish a stable system of justice. "We renew for all factions in aside their commit the nation to sponsibilities and constitutional Bishop Reilly said. He quoted the ops, who said when dictator Francois Duvalier was 1986 that "the time for reconciliation ness, not for and hatred." "May God bless Haiti as they new path," Bishop T/tg LUMBEF 104 Built with to Save Time & Factory Hwy, 231 S, (6tz}