Saturday, June 27, 2009
St.Joseph the Worker Church
1640 Addison, Berkeley
Several hundred people gathered to honor Father Gerard Jean-Juste at a memorial service at St. Joseph the Worker Church in Berkeley on Saturday, June 27th organized by Haiti Action Committee. Revolutionary Haitian priest Father Jean-Juste died on May 27th at the age of 62. In jail and out, he preached liberation of the poor, release of prisoners, human rights for all, and a fair distribution of wealth.
Tributes included a condolence message honoring Fr. Jean-Juste from US Congresswoman Barbara Lee, read by Walter Riley; and messages from Haitian community leaders. Many Bay Area spokespeople and activists told of their personal recollections of Fr. Gerry and the significance of his life. Community musicians and groups raised their voices and our spirits with their beautiful songs. Pierre Labossiere was the MC.
Video footage of his life rendered visual his life's work. He constantly challenged both the powers of Haiti and the US to stop killing, starving and imprisoning the poor. He slept on the floor of his church, St. Claire, which provided meals to thousands of hungry children and adults every week. Father Gerry will be missed but not forgotten by the Haitian people, and by all who embrace true democracy and justice throughout the world.
STATEMENT FROM PRESIDENT JEAN-BERTRAND ARISTIDE:
Honor to you, Father Jean Juste! Respect for you, Gerry, our brother! You will always remain living in the spirit of those who love you. That is how you have triumphed over death! The more we take the stars of compliments to give you a crown of recognition, the more we will always remember you. [To listen to the entire message from Dr. Aristide in kreyol, please follow the link to Fanmi Lavalas website and scroll down]
PRAYER FOR RELEASE OF POLITICAL PRISONERS, Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste while in prison in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, January 2006
Believing in God, we prisoners
should always be grateful to you. O, God, it is true!
Some of us prisoners may have misused Your gifts. Some of us tried to
make others around us appreciate
Your gifts, be happy, and share. But they have not listened.
Instead, they handcuffed us, Your messengers, like they handcuffed some of Your
prophets, such as John the Baptizer, Your own Son Jesus Christ, and many apostles.
They, too, had tried to share the message, but the message put them in jail. While the
body was in jail, the work continued, and we, too, spread the message of life.
Out of jail many of us do not find time to meet You—that’s what we experience in jail.
So many people never prayed before and now not only do they pray, they’re singing!
They become new people.
You, God, want to give us total liberation. That’s the reason why we say to You, God: We
appreciate life in prison to bring comfort to our brothers and sisters wherever they are.
Today, we pray for all political prisoners, not only in Haiti, but also all over the world.
May we by Your power, God, find justice and be released from jail to public life. May
we renew the good work and not be afraid, but with love in our heart for everyone,
spread the message of freedom and love.
In the name of God, Amen.