Thursday, November 7, 2013

St. Philomena vs. Our Lady

Until 1862 the island had only one diocese at Santo Domingo.  In 1864 in the whole of Haiti there were only 34 priests caring for thousands in 65 parishes. Out of 516 priests who came from France after the signing of the concordat over three quarters had died or been recalled to Europe as invalids by 1906.  In 1909 there were 182 priests and 92 parishes; as well as a seminary and secondary school at Port-au-Prince, a college in Cap-Haitien dedicated to Our Lady of Perpetual Help. 

“The shrine of Saint Philomena in Bord-de-Mer-de-Limonade was renamed as the Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help by the Catholic Archdiocese of Cape-Haitian in the 1980s in an effort to curb the freewheeling Vodou devotions that take place there. Pilgrims, however, have altogether ignored the Archdiocese’s decree, as on Perpetual Help’s feast day virtually no one attends Mass, while during Philomena’s feast, tens of thousands flock to the shrine.”