Archbishop Monsignor Joseph Serge Miot was only 63 when he lost his life in service of the Catholic Church in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
The archbishop was working in his office when the devastating 7.0 earthquake that rocked the country last Tuesday struck; the cathedral in which it was housed collapsed. His body was found buried in the rubble of what once was a seat of worship and diplomatic power. According to Fox News, the Church has since reported all major churches and seminaries in the city were destroyed. In an interview with Vatican Radio, nuncio Monsignor Bernardito Auza reported hundreds of clergy were trapped in rubble. Their fates are largely unknown.
Miot was a native of remote Jérémie, Haiti, a small city all but cut off from the rest of the country. He was ordained to priesthood there in 1975. His appointment to office in the Church came in 1997 as a response to public unrest surrounding the then-archbishop François-Wolff Ligondé’s involvement in political coup. His promotion to archbishop came in 1998; he was not quite two years into his term at the time of his death. Catholic News Service relates in his time as archbishop he earned a reputation as a strong advocate of the impoverished and was a humble, prayerful man with great Marian devotion.
According to Monsignor Auza, Miot died when the force of the earthquake shoved him from a balcony and he impacted head-first.
Miot, formally His Excellency The Most Rev. Joseph Serge Miot, has been succeeded by Father Jean Patrick. Vatican Radio reports Archbishop Patrick has called the event a catastrophe for Haiti and the Haitian Church.