PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- In front of a national cathedral that lay in rubble, Catholic leaders marked the anniversary of Haiti's deadly earthquake by praying for its victims and calling for reconstruction of this tattered Caribbean country.
"This tragedy took everything. ... and sickness and death is still hitting" Haitians, said Cardinal Robert Sarah, the papal envoy, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum and the main celebrant at the Mass. "We call on the international community ... to develop the country, to develop Haiti."
Throughout the earthquake-torn capital, Haitians flocked to churches for prayer services Jan. 12, the anniversary of the earthquake. Schools and many businesses closed for the day, which was declared a national holiday and a day of prayer.
Thousands attended the morning service outside the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption. Haiti's prime minister, presidential candidates and musicians sat in tents flanked by choirs and scores of residents.
Many stood under a cloudless sky in the blaring Haitian sun, singing and praying. Others sat barefoot on blankets, lost in the bitter memories of a year of grief.