ST. PETERSBURG — The funeral service for Nikenson Cenatus, the 19-year-old Haitian man who drowned last weekend at Fort De Soto Park, will take place Monday at St. Paul's Catholic Church.
Cenatus had come to the United States two years ago for surgery through Partners With Haiti, a ministry of the church. He remained after the earthquake ravaged Haiti, learned English, got a job and was preparing to take his GED. The youngest of five children, he helped to support his mother and siblings in Haiti with his earnings from a Sweetbay supermarket.
Partners With Haiti has sought the help of U. S. Rep. Kathy Castor to get an emergency non-immigrant visa for Cenatus' mother, Diuedonne Lindor, to travel from her home on the remote Haitian island of La Gonave for the funeral. Dr. Mark Morris, a member of the Partners With Haiti group, said Lindor has an appointment with the embassy at 7 a.m. today.
Monday's service at St. Paul's, 1800 12th St. N, will begin at 11 a.m. A viewing will be held earlier, starting at 10 a.m. A reception will take place in St. Paul's school cafeteria after the service.
Morris said Cenatus' body will be cremated and his ashes taken home for a service at the family's Wesleyan church.
Cenatus had been on an outing with a group from Sanctification Haitian Baptist Church, when he waded into the water Saturday afternoon. He could not swim. An autopsy by the Pinellas County Medical Examiner determined the cause of death was drowning.
Waveney Ann Moore can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 892-2283.