(Aleteia) The Friars of the Order of Our Lady of Mercy (Mercedarios) in Havana, Cuba, are struggling with poverty and the aftermath of last year’s hurricane.

The night of January 27, 2019 is one that Fray Gabriel Avila Luna will not easily forget. The hurricane vented its fury on the church especially. “The wooden roof, dating from colonial times, and the rubble stone walls were irreparably damaged and almost all the benches, statues and other furnishings inside the church were either destroyed or swept away by the force of the wind, which tore open the large door of the main front entrance.”

This repair work is extremely urgent because, as Fray Gabriel explains, “up till now the church and the parish house have been left in a dreadful state and are deteriorating still further by the day. In addition, we have to gather the people together outside the church on Sundays. When the rainy season comes this won’t be possible.”

The friars are extremely grateful to ACN for having promised, along with other organizations, to help restore this historic church and national treasure.

“We came back to the island in 2012, after being 125 years away from Cuba. Fray Rodolfo was one of the first to make his profession since we arrived here. We live by God’s providence—for our food, medication, personal expenses.

Tej Francis