Haiti's First Cardinal Celebrates Mass In Little Haiti

Nov 24, 2014
Originally published on November 24, 2014 10:18 am

Before Cardinal Chibly Langlois celebrated Mass at Notre Dame D’Haiti Catholic Church in Little Haiti, he took it all in.

A banner with his likeness hung from a black fence.

Parishioners wore yellow T-shirts with a picture of his face on the front and on the back, a message in Creole thanking God for blessing them with the first-ever Haitian cardinal.

Earlier this year, Pope Francis named Langlois cardinal, making him the first Haitian in history to hold that post.

Langlois currently serves as president of the Haitian bishop's conference and oversees the diocese of Les Cayes, Haiti.  He splits his time between Haiti and Rome. 

In the months after his appointment, Langlois has also met with the Haitian diaspora in New Jersey and in Boston. On Sunday, he was in in Little Haiti.

He said he hopes to unite Haitians in the church no matter where they live.

More than a thousand people attended the welcome mass for Langlois in Little Haiti where he was greeted with a round of applause.

"I want to thank God for this favor with the Haitian community in Miami," he said. "I know they've been praying for me."

Rev. Jean Mary Reginald, administrator at Notre Dame, said Langlois represents solidarity between Haitian Catholics and the Vatican. He said when the Pope picked Langlois  it was an affirmation of the Haitian church's impact in recent years.

Langlois will help pick the next pope in his position as cardinal. Observers say this is a step toward having a diverse representation in Rome that reflects the church's makeup. 

It is said that Haiti is 80 percent Catholic, but some estimates put the number closer to 55 percent.

Reginald said Langlois will serve as a representative  for Haitians everywhere.

"He is not just there for the church of Haiti, but we as Haitian migrants who migrated all over, he is our passport," said Reginald. "He is our witness before the church."

Langlois said he recognizes the weight of being the first Haitian cardinal. He said it is a blessing for him and Haiti.

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