Santiago de Cuba (Tuesday, 09-22-2015, Gaudium Press) Pope Francis called Cuba to a “revolution of tenderness” as he celebrated Mass in the Minor Basilica of the Shrine of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre, the country’s patroness.
While only about 60 percent of Cubans are baptised Catholics, the little statue of Our Lady of Charity, discovered 400 years ago, is also a widely recognised symbol of Cuban identity and of strength despite struggle.
Archbishop Dionisio Garcia Ibanez of Santiago, president of the Cuban bishops’ conference, told the Pope at the end of Mass, “Believers and nonbelievers consider her a clear symbol of Cuban identity because in her we see reflected the greatness yearnings and aspirations of our people.”
Celebrating Mass early on Tuesday – just a few hours before he was scheduled to fly to Washington – Pope Francis told Cubans, “Our revolution comes about through tenderness, through the joy which always becomes closeness and compassion, and leads us to get involved in and to serve the life of others.”
Like Mary, who made haste to visit her pregnant cousin Elizabeth, the Catholic Church wants to be with Cubans in their state of hope and expectation, “to build bridges, to break down walls, to sow seeds of reconciliation,” the Pope said.
In the hours before Mass as the sun rose and roosters crowed, residents began to line the streets of El Cobre, a small town outside of Santiago.
Source Catholic Herlad