West Tennessee Haiti Partnership

Holy God We Praise Thy Name

I remember this hymn from my childhood in the Catholic church, and even Episcopalians sing it occasionally. To hear it sung in French, at Holy Trinity Cathedral, was a moving experience for all of us on our last Sunday in Haiti. The members of Holy Trinity watched their beloved and magnificent cathedral turn to piles of rubble and dust along with much of the rest of Port au Prince, in the earthquake of January 12, 2010. Today I was back in my own beloved cathedral of St Mary’s, in Memphis, for Palm Sunday. I have often wondered how I would feel if St Marys were reduced to a pile of stones, the windows destroyed like the beautiful painted murals that once decorated the walls of Holy Trinity Cathedral. The people of Holy Trinity worship now in an open air pavilion, next door to their ruined cathedral. Their acolytes carry lighted torches and incense, and their priests consecrate the bread and wine the same as ever. The choir sings with joy on their faces and fills the open space with a wonderful sound. The Sunday we were there, they sang several familiar hymns, including Blessed Assurance (in French of course). The Blessed Assurance of God’s faithfulness, even when what you see around you is destruction. I realized that even though the entire service was in another language, I was worshipping without words. Today, at St Marys, as we ended the dramatic Palm Sunday service, we sang “Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom”. I wept as I sang, thinking of all the children at St Vincents and the people of Haiti whom I have come to know over the last 4 years. Jesus will surely remember them and lead them, singing, into His Kingdom.

Susan Nelson

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