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Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Cuba welcomes Vatican envoy
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┬áCardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State of His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, arrived in Havana on Wednesday night, beginning his third visit to Cuba. At exactly 8.40pm the aircraft carrying Cardinal Bertone touched down on the runway of JosÚ MartÝ International Airport where he was received at the foot of the stairs by Felipe PÚrez Roque, minister of foreign relations; Cardinal Jaime Ortega Alamino, Archbishop of Havana and Papal Nuncio, Monsignor Luigi Bonazzi. Also on hand to welcome the Cardinal were Caridad Diego, head of the Cuban Communist Party Central Committee's office of religious affairs; Eumelio Caballero, deputy foreign relations minister and members of the Cuban Conference of Catholic Bishops. After a meeting with the Bishops yesterday, the Cardinal visited a seminary and celebrated Mass in the Cathedral Square in Havana. Today there will be a Mass and meeting with Cloistered sisters and a meeting with the Presidential Body of the Cuban Conference of Religious. On Saturday, February 23, the Cardinal will be in Santa Clara, where he will inaugurate the monument dedicated to John Paul II. In the afternoon, he will travel to Santiago de Cuba, where there will be a Rosary prayed in the National Shrine of Our Lady of Charity of Cobre, with young people and lay faithful, in honour of the 10th Anniversary of the Virgin's Crowning. On Sunday, February 24, the Cardinal will go to Guantanamo, where he will celebrate Mass in the "Pedro Agustin Perez y Perez" Square, in honour of the 10th Anniversary of the creation of the Diocese of Guantanamo-Baracoa, with a special blessing of the Bishop's Residence. On Monday, there is a scheduled Conference in the Auditorium of the University of Havana, and lastly, on Tuesday the 26th, there will be an Encounter with the "Salesian Family," a visit to the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM), and a meeting with Catholic media personnel from the Church in Cuba, in the Nunciature. Archbishop Dionisio Garcia Iba˝ez, Archbishop of Santiago de Cuba, sent a note to the faithful asking them to participate in the act at the National Shrine of the Virgin of El Cobre, uniting themselves spiritually if they cannot physically attend. "How beautiful it will be that all of us, in manifestation of our love for the Virgin and for Cuba, come together that on that evening, in supplication, to obtain those things that are so desired by all Cubans of goodwill," the Bishop said. In this way, the Bishop explained, "we unite ourselves to the intention of Pope John Paul II, who in his homily in Santiago de Cuba, placed all the Cuban people under the protection of the Virgin." The diocese of Guantanamo is also preparing to receive the Cardinal Secretary of State, on the 10th anniversary of the creation of the diocese by Pope John Paul II in the Mass of January 24, 1998, in Santiago de Cuba. Catholics there have already been reciting a prayer especially composed for the visit and have organised a mission in the entire city, inviting the people to come. Santa Clara will be the third diocese he will visit, in order to inaugurate the monument to John Paul II. In a radio message, Bishop Arturo Gonzalez, Bishop of Santa Clara, recalled the historic visit of John Paul II to the country, in which "all Cuba lived an experience that will forever mark its history. And the Catholic Church in Cuba looks upon those days as the most transcendental of all." "To us all, he left us his teachings; to each one of us he offered a word on which we could reflect and later put into practice," the Bishop continued. It is precisely in order to celebrate this anniversary of the diocese, that they have wished to erect a public monument dedicated to John Paul II in the same place where he celebrated his first Mass in Cuba. "We want it to be a homage from all the Cuban people to Pope John Paul II and a remembrance, for all future generations, of a historical event of transcendental calibre," the Bishop affirmed, while also asking that faithful prepare for the event by a "renewal of the gift of faith, kindling the fire of love and hope in us, in our families, and in our friends." Source: Fides/Cuban News Services
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