By Levelt Michaud, SJ
Port-au-Prince — In Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Saturday, June 5, 2021, in the chapel of the Sisters of Charity of Saint Louis, Gerard Myriam Paul, SJ, and Jean Francky Guerrier, SJ, were ordained to the priesthood by His Excellency Bishop Pierre-André Dumas of the Diocese of Anse-à-veau and Miragoâne.
The ceremony took place in a particularly troubling context where the weight of uncertainty is being felt harshly. On the one hand, Covid-19, which is putting the world to the test, is in full resurgence in Haiti, and on the other hand, the insecurity caused by the tense political climate in Haiti is at its height. It was in the midst of this turmoil that Gerard Myriam and Jean Francky were ordained as priests.
Because of Covid, only a small number of Jesuits took part in the celebration, and the guests of the two new priests were very few. However, the beauty of the chapel and the joy of the parents, friends, and companions gave a remarkable glow to this beautiful celebration. Everything took place in a calm and prayerful atmosphere.
The prelate of Miragoâne addressed the two ordinands in a very fraternal way. In his homily, he mentioned the wound of Ignatius 500 years ago and spoke of the beauty of Ignatian spirituality, that beauty which is born of the wound. Bishop Dumas urged the new priests to follow the ideal of Ignatius, not as wounded people but as men of God capable of seeing and loving God in all things. He invited them to become aware of their intellectual, human, and spiritual gifts to bring out the beauty of God’s love where there seems to be chaos. It is only in this sense, he insisted, that beauty, which is nothing other than the love of God, can call forth and leave its mark on the hearts of ordinary people wounded by the ugliness of aporophobia.
According to the bishop, the beauty of which he speaks is not superficial, otherwise it would be impossible to see the tragic or the ugly as a source of love and peace. Bishop Dumas invited the new priests to be good pastors in their ministry. He reminded them that beauty is a sign and expression of joy. Referring to Dostoevsky, he said that it is beauty that saves the world because beauty is the very love of God. It is the beauty of the crucified that will be able to restore the beauty of the world and particularly that of Haiti, torn by so many latent social conflicts.
Monsignor Dumas invited Gerard Myriam and Jean Francky to learn to contemplate the beauty of God so as to be able to see the world and Haiti in a new light. He asked them to reflect on their priesthood oriented by the following questions: How can they work to transform the plight of Haiti from their priesthood? How can they accompany the people of Haiti without being paralysed by powerlessness and the fear of failure?
Gerard Myriam and Jean Francky both said they wanted their priesthood to be a true sign of God’s love. The new priests entrust themselves entirely to the prayer of the people of God.