NEW YORK – Without setting a timetable for when, Haitian Bishop Pierre-André Dumas of Anse-á-Veau and Miragoâne said that as soon as he is able he will return to the Caribbean Nation to accompany and give hope to his people, and also to serve as a witness of God’s love.

Dumas arrived in the Archdiocese of Miami at the end of February to recover from severe burns he suffered in an explosion while in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince. He has since been released from the hospital, and is now continuing his rehabilitation and recovery at an archdiocesan nursing facility.

“I am the bishop of the diocese and I have to go back to my people, but to go back to help my people I have to recreate my health,” Dumas told Crux on May 15, speaking from the nursing facility. “I have to be able to stand up, and rise again and say to my people, ‘this is a God’s miracle in my life. This is God’s manifestation of love. I come back to become a witness of that.’”

“So for me, I cannot project any dates, any time,” Dumas said. “I’m sure the time will come and that I will say, ‘this is a good moment to come back to serve my people, to accompany my people, to live close to my people, and to give the gospel, the joy, the hope to my people.’”

Dumas suffered burns to his face, arms, and legs in the explosion, which occurred on February 18. Given the level of insecurity in Haiti, there have been suggestions that the explosion was a targeted attack. To that, Dumas said he didn’t know what exactly happened.

Dumas didn’t express a desire to find out, either. Instead, he focused on Haiti’s future.

“What is the best thing for me? All of the suffering I endured during this time I offer everything united in the suffering of Christ,” Dumas said. “I will feel all of the suffering for the salvation, of the liberation, of the healing process of my people.”

At the time of the explosion, and in the weeks that followed, Haiti had spiraled into a sort of free fall with the government collapsing and criminal gangs and organizations in control. In recent weeks things have started to turn for the better, with the inauguration of a new government and aid and general assistance coming in from the international community. Soon, Kenyan police forces will land in Haiti, as well.

With the help of the United States, Haiti’s primary airport in Port-au-Prince has also reopened.

Dumas said that he’s hopeful the latest developments signal “a new beginning” for Haiti.

“I hope we continue this to guarantee the security for the people, to normalize the life of the people, to restore all democratic institutions, and at the same time to think that we cannot rebuild a country without rebuilding the human person, the human beings,” Dumas said.

“We have to rebuild the human beings,” Dumas continued. “We need to do that, and this is also the reason why when I finish my recovery here I have to go back to my country, to help in that and also to organize to have strong institutions, to have also a good governance in the country and at the same time help people to live more in solidarity as the social teachings of the church say to us.”

Dumas said that before he left the country he had started talking to Catholics about the need for them to be involved in order to bring hope to the country. In his conversation with Crux, he maintained that people have to live in solidarity with one another, exhibiting equity, integrity, and honesty. He also called for people to “offer compassion to our brothers and sisters.”

“You have to put forth all of those virtues to have what we call a virtuous society,” Dumas said.

Now that the tide has begun to turn, Dumas said it’s also important for Haitians to never again allow such violence, and instability take over the country. He said this could be a turning point in Haitians’ lives.

“We have to say ‘never, never, never’ should that happen again. So Haitian people need a good conscience that God loves them. They cannot continue to destroy their brothers and have to live as brothers, as the Holy Father said,” Dumas said. “It is time to start a new beginning.”

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