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Haiti earthquake: Hymns and hope on a Sunday

From impromptu services held in streets outside damaged houses of worship to the hymns that can be heard resonating throughout the city, Haitians have come out on Sunday seeking strength as they look to recover and reconstruct everything that they have lost.

A family attends Sunday church service at St. Jean Bosco Catholic church in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Sunday.

Mary Knox Merrill / The Christian Science Monitor

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The main cathedral in Port-au-Prince is completely destroyed. There is no roof.

The cream-colored façade now lies in boulders on the ground, the black wrought-iron gate in a twisted tangle on top.

Some of the stained-glass windows still reflect the sunlight, but they are the only remaining infrastructure to indicate that a church once stood in what is now just one of thousands of collapsed buildings throughout this capital city of two million people.

That has not stopped Haitians from seeking out their religious communities this Sunday, the first time most have been able to congregate in prayer since the earthquake struck last Tuesday, destroying so many lives around them.

From impromptu Catholic masses in the make-shift settlements throughout the destroyed city, to evangelical services held in streets outside damaged houses of worship, to private prayer and the hymns that can be heard resonating throughout the city, Haitians have come out on Sunday seeking strength as they look to recover and reconstruct everything that they have lost.

“Being in church, praying is transforming people in this time,” says Inesse Joseph, an evangelical pastor dressed in a denim beret and bright-blue dress who has been giving services all day.

Even for those who lost everything, church has brought back a sense of normalcy when everything else remains so unfamiliar around them.

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