By Bob Libby
Around the rubble of Trinity Cathedral in Port-au-Prince the bishops processed, entering a makeshift shelter covering an overflow congregation of more than a thousand. Along came hundreds of clergy, nursing students, theological students, the Sisters of St. Margaret, and dozens of acolytes. They proceeded to the music of Haiti’s only symphony orchestra and a chorus from the cathedral’s school of music.
Such was the humble pageantry May 22 as Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori celebrated the consecration of Ogé Beauvoir as the Diocese of Haiti’s first bishop suffragan. Beauvoir has served for seven years as the dean of Episcopal Theological Seminary in Haiti, and previously was on the staff of Trinity Wall Street Church in New York.
During a visit to Miami earlier this year, the Rt. Rev. Leopold Frade, Bishop of Southeast Florida, introduced Beauvoir to Robin Mahfood, president and CEO of Food for the Poor. The relief and development ministry helped raise $46,000 for the cathedral’s music academy, which was destroyed in the earthquake of 2010.
Bishop Beauvoir will serve with the Rt. Rev. Jean Z. Duracin, Bishop of Haiti, and has been assigned to work in the northwest area of the country.
In informal remarks in both French and English, Bishop Jefferts Schori noted that Haiti is the largest diocese in the Episcopal Church. She gave thanks for the individuals and groups supporting the work of the Episcopal Church in Haiti, and said the broader church has much to learn from the work and spirit of the church in Haiti.
The Diocese of Haiti operates the second-largest school system in the country, serving 80,000 students in 250 schools.
The diocese also provides the only orthopedic hospital in the country and its nursing school has more than 90 students. The diocese’s seminary has 21 students, seven of whom will be ordained this year.
The Rev. James Cooper, rector of Trinity Wall Street, which has provided major support for theological education and other projects in Haiti, urged the congregation to “be faithful in the inspiration, formation and action.”
Following the apostolic laying on of hands and the celebration of the Eucharist by the new bishop, the orchestra sent the congregation out to do God’s work to the tune of Verdi’s “Triumphal March” from Aida.