Church Announces Dates For Pope's Cuba Trip
Official statement of the Catholics Bishops Conference of Cuba
"To Jesus for María, the Charity unites us"
Welcome Sacred Father Benedicto XVI Pilgrim of the Charity!
To all the Cubans:
As it has been announced through the media the Sacred Father XVI Benedicto it will visit, God by means of, our country from the 26 to the 28 oft March. A matter enthusiasm one is living in the communities and Catholic parishes with this good news.
This visit completes a desire that has been alive for long time in the heart of the Catholics and many Cubans that are identified with or they feel part of the Catholic Church.
This has been, also, a desire of the Pope who, in spite of the limits that it imposes him the age and its great responsibility in the Church and in the world, has wanted to come to accompany and to take place with the Cubans the IV Centennial of the discovery and the presence of the blessed image of the Virgin of the Charity in our homeland.
The Sacred Father will visit us in his condition of Universal Shepherd of the Catholic Church, successor of the apostle San Pedro to who Jesus Christ commended the mission he gives to confirm in the faith to his siblings and being sign of the unit of the Church in the world.
From Rome the Popes have presided over twenty centuries ago the Church, in the Truth of the Gospel and in the Christian Love. XVI Benedicto is the Pope 265, starting from the apostle San Pedro who was the first one, until our days.
The Pope comes to our country like Pilgrim of the Charity. As we know Charity it is the name that the Cubans give to the Virgin María, the Mother of Jesus Christ, and with this name has accompanied, protected and alleviated to our town in all the moments of our history for 400 years.
Charity means, also, Christian love, as which showed us and Jesus sent when telling us loves you each other as me have loved them". (Jn 15, 12)
Particular relevance has the company of the Pope to Cuba in the Year to Retire Mariano, after the preparation that has been had in the communities during three years and with the unforgettable and joyful memory of the journey of the image of the Virgin Mambisa to the long and width of our country.
The step of the image of the Virgin it has summoned and gathered to millions of Cuban that prayed, they sang, they cried and moving religious experiences lived. Some felt to revive the faith, perhaps hidden or sleeping and others made their first approach to Jesus Christ by means of the Virgin. The members give the communities they received it and they took place jubilant the presence of the Mother of the Son of God in their lives. Without a doubt it was an experience of faith and of cubanía that the Sacred Father will confirm with his presence and his word and, at the same time, it will encourage feelings and attitudes of Christian love, mercy, gratitude and reconciliation among all the Cubans.
With these feelings and aspirations, the Bishops of Cuba we want to invite to the whole people to receive the Sacred Father XVI Benedicto with the affection and the enthusiasm of who comes on behalf of the Sir..
The Pope will arrive to Santiago of Cuba, on Monday 26 of. March at 2:00 p.m. o'clock The Mass in the Square Antonio Maceo will be at 5:30 o'clock p.m. On Tuesday 27 in the morning the Sacred Father will make a visit to the Virgin of the Charity in the Basilica National Sanctuary of the Cobre a.m. at 9:30 o'clock and it will travel later on to Havana, where it will celebrate the Mass on Wednesday 28 of March at 9:00 a. m. o'clock in the Square José Martí.
We exhort to all the faithful ones and the whole town to participate in the two celebrations of the Santa Mass that will take place in Santiago and in Havana. At the same time we invite to all the faithful ones to dedicate during the week previous to the arrival of the Pope three days to the sentence and the mission, in such a sense we propose that on Thursday 15 of March it is a dedicated day to the sentence eucarística in all the communities, on Friday 16 are one day of fast and on Saturday 17 it is one day to carry out works of mercy, these stock they would offer for the spiritual fruits of the visit of the Sacred Father.
The Year to Retire 2012 is dedicated to thank to God the gift that has made us of the Virgin of Charity, to put into practice, with bigger care and generosity, the Christian love, to go on pilgrimage to its Sanctuary of the Cobre and we will have, also, the opportunity of to meditate on the teachings that the Sacred Father leaves us and give to secure the Christian roots of this way our nation.
That the Virgin of the Charity of the Cobre guides and accompany the steps of the Pope among us to who we receive with branch affection like Pilgrim of the Charity, so that He confirms us in the faith, it encourages us in the hope and he makes us solicitous in the love.
With our blessing and affection.
The Bishops of Cuba
March 1, 2012