Coping with the quake in Queens
Yesterday’s New York Times had a story about how Sts. Joachim and Anne Catholic School in Queens, New York, is helping its students understand and deal with the tragedy in Haiti. Approximately 80% of the students there are Haitian.
They pray. They scrounge up donations. The quake informs class discussions about politics, about helping the poor, about the afterlife. And when the children are not talking about it, their teachers suspect, they are thinking about it.
As 250,000 Haitian-Americans in the New York area mourn, children bear their own burdens. Many feel as much at home in Haiti as in New York. They struggle to picture the houses where they spent summers now in rubble, grandparents and cousins dead, missing, homeless. For others, Haiti exists in tales parents tell — a place they long to visit and now wonder if they will ever see.
And, as three days this week at the school make clear, a subtle but evident role reversal is under way, as child after child feels responsibility to take care of parents bewildered by grief.
The story (which ran on the front page) is more human-interest than news, but the details it offers may enrich your own prayers for the victims and their families today. Also worth reading is the previous article by reporter Anne Barnard about the parish of Sts. Joachim and Anne and its response to the disaster.