Port-au-Prince: Atop the rubble of destroyed churches, in parks and on sidewalks, thousands of Haitians prayed on Friday in a national day of mourning, one month after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake killed more than 200,000 and left this Caribbean country struggling for survival.
Leaders of Haiti's two official religions - a Catholic bishop and the head of the Voodoo priests, both robed in white - joined ministers from Protestant denominations for a prayer service in the shade of mimosa trees near the shattered National Palace.
Hundreds of people gathered. Men wore black armbands of mourning, girls frilly white dresses. Among them were earthquake amputees in wheelchairs, casts and hobbling on crutches.
President Rene Preval wept during the service, his wife trying to console him.
"The pain is too heavy - Words cannot explain it," Preval said.
The President later asked people to support the government, though he did not refer to the many small demonstrations this week demanding that he resign.
Parishioners filled churches in Port-au-Prince's Petionville suburb and set up loudspeakers so those in the streets could follow.
Others stood on debris that used to be a Catholic Church and an evangelical church to remember victims hurriedly and anonymously buried in mass graves outside the devastated capital, Port-au-Prince.
First Published: Saturday, February 13, 2010, 09:31