Msgr. Sullivan Advocates For Puerto Rico Recovery

Posted on December 20, 2017 by Alice Kenny  |  Share

Joins Ecumenical Prayer Vigil in DC

Just back this week from a humanitarian trip distributing food, clothes and support to those hit hardest by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, Msgr. Kevin Sullivan traveled again today, this time to Washington DC, for a prayer vigil and show of solidarity as Congress considers recovery and relief packages for the hurricane-torn island.

“There is general consensus that Puerto Rico was in a very dire situation prior to Maria,” Msgr. Sullivan said.  “Simply, the economy had tanked, debt had skyrocketed and population was fleeing the island in tens of thousands on a regular basis. 

“To define success as achieving the goal of restoring this unacceptable situation is a betrayal of the hope and commitment that religious peopled bring to this earthly pilgrimage.  It is a betrayal of the vision and values of these United States which does not settle but always seeks a better future in which the dignity of individuals and families might flourish and the common good of all sought.”

Msgr. Sullivan prayed at the vigil held in a congressional Cannon House office building.  He was joined by the major presider at the service, Archbishop Roberto González Nieves of San Juan, Puerto Rico and representatives from a number of major religious groups including the United Church of Christ, the National Association of Evangelicals, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic Charities USA, the Franciscan Action Network and the Muslim Public Affairs Council.

The groups’ prayers called for adequate rebuilding aid, debt relief and financing for healthcare and child benefits on par with what US States receive.

“To me the solution is simple to design and admittedly hard to implement,” Msgr. Sullivan added, “a Marshall-like PR redevelopment plan that includes the basics of infrastructure modernization and the creation of enterprise zones to encourage business relocation need to be at the heart of the plan. We should not shirk the challenge of forging the political will and capital needed to implement such a plan.

“With every disaster, there are distinct challenges and opportunities.  The recovery of Puerto Rico after Maria and Irma provides the United States with the prospect of turning what was a bleak future for many into one of growth, development and hope.  This is neither easy nor assured, but it is a viable option – if we have the courage to undertake it - with both our fervent prayers and hard work.”

Stay tuned to our blog posts for first-hand updates on their humanitarian visits to Puerto Rico this week by Msgr. Kevin Sullivan and our coworker, Teresa Santiago. 

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