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The Rev. Jules Campion carries a crucifix before the start of a religious procession in the village of Bois-Neuf, Haiti. The 2010 earthquake in Haiti that killed tens of thousands of people and displaced 1.5 million others was on the minds of many pilgrims, and cited as a chief reason to have faith in God.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Dieu Nalio Chery / Associated Press

A Christian pilgrim holds up a picture of her daughter during a procession in the village of Bois-Neuf, Haiti. Some brought their passports in hopes that their prayers may help them secure a visa to leave impoverished Haiti. Others held aloft photos of sick family members in hopes that their prayers would rid them of illness.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Dieu Nalio Chery / Associated Press

A Christian pilgrim cries as she prays at a religious gathering organized by Our Lady of Fatima Bible Center in the village of Bois-Neuf, Haiti. Although the center is Roman Catholic, the event had an evangelical feel, and some elements of voodoo.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Dieu Nalio Chery / Associated Press

A weathered statue of the Virgin Mary stands in the yard of the Our Lady of Fatima Bible Center, which organized the religious gathering in the village of Bois-Neuf, Haiti.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Dieu Nalio Chery / Associated Press

Christian pilgrims kneel in prayer on top of a mountain during a gathering by Catholics last month in the village of Bois-Neuf, Haiti.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Dieu Nalio Chery / Associated Press

A Christian pilgrim holding up a rosary and photographs is sprinkled with holy water during a religious gathering in the village of Bois-Neuf, Haiti. Some brought photos of sick family members in hopes that their prayers would rid them of illness.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Dieu Nalio Chery / Associated Press

Bishop Frantz Price holds up the eucharist during a Catholic gathering in the village of Bois-Neuf, Haiti. The Christian pilgrims came to the barren mountainside in central Haiti by the thousands, seeking favors and spiritual renewal.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Dieu Nalio Chery / Associated Press

Christian pilgrims pray on a mountain during a religious gathering organized by Our Lady of Fatima Bible Center in the village of Bois-Neuf, Haiti. At the gathering titled "Prayer, Penance and Conversion," believers came with hopes of a better life for themselves or others.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Dieu Nalio Chery / Associated Press

Christian pilgrims gather on a mountain in the village of Bois-Neuf, Haiti, for a three-day religious summit. The gathering was among the largest of its kind in the Caribbean nation in recent years.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Dieu Nalio Chery / Associated Press

Two of those attending the summit in Bois-Neuf, Haiti, hold hands during a religious procession.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Dieu Nalio Chery / Associated Press

The Rev. Jules Campion leads a procession of pilgrims carrying a statue of Our Lady of Fatima in the village of Bois-Neuf, Haiti. Christian pilgrims came to the barren mountainside in central Haiti seeking favors and spiritual renewal.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Dieu Nalio Chery / Associated Press

Christian pilgrims pray at sunrise before the start of a procession in the village of Bois-Neuf, Haiti. At the gathering titled "Prayer, Penance and Conversion," pilgrims came with hopes of a better life for themselves or others.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Dieu Nalio Chery / Associated Press

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Photo essay | Haiti Christian Summit

BOIS-NEUF, Haiti — The Christian pilgrims crowded a barren mountainside in central Haiti by the thousands, seeking favors and spiritual renewal.

Organized by Our Lady of Fatima Bible Center, the three-day summit in February was among the largest of its kind in the Caribbean nation in recent years. Although the center is Roman Catholic, the event had an evangelical feel, and some elements of voodoo.

The gathering in the village of Bois-Neuf was called “Prayer, Penance and Conversion,” and participants came with hopes of a better life for themselves or others.

Some brought their passports in hopes that their prayers might help them secure a visa to leave impoverished Haiti. Others held aloft photos of sick family members in hopes that their prayers would cure them.

Amid the prayers, priests threaded the crowd, splashing pilgrims with holy water, a gesture aimed at expelling malevolent spirits. A few people fell to the ground, shrieking as the priests prayed for bad spirits to leave their bodies.

Elsewhere, women carried baskets of fruit and vegetables on their heads as offerings.

The Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake in Haiti that killed tens of thousands of people and displaced 1.5 million others was on the minds of many at the gathering, and was cited as a chief reason to have faith in God.

“If we don’t convert, we will have another Jan. 12, 2010 — but worse,” the Rev. Jules Campion, director and founder of the center, told his congregation. “If we don’t convert, Port-au-Prince won’t be destroyed; it will disappear completely. You must convert!”

– Associated Press

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