Pope Benedict XVI will arrive in Santiago de Cuba, an eastern Cuban city, on Monday for a three-day apostolic visit to Cuba that will include public masses, tours and meetings with government and religious authorities.
The Pope was invited by the Government and the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Cuba, in his condition of Supreme Pontiff and Head of State of Vatican City.
This visit is part of the Jubilee Year for the 400th anniversary of the discovery of the image of the Virgin of La Caridad del Cobre, the patron saint of Cuba.
Benedict XVI’s activities will begin with the official welcome at the Antonio Maceo international airport, from where he will go to the Archbishopric of Santiago de Cuba.
His Holiness will officiate an over two-hour mass at the Antonio Maceo Revolution Square.
On Tuesday, Benedict XVI will visit the Sanctuary of the Virgin of La Caridad del Cobre, and will travel to Havana later.
In the Cuban capital, Benedict XVI will be welcomed by President Raul Castro and will officiate a two-hour mass on Wednesday at the Jose Marti Revolution Square, a place also prepared for the religious celebration.
Some hours later, His Holiness will return to Rome.
The Pope will arrive in Cuba from Mexico, as part of his 23rd apostolic tour and the second one to Latin America, after visiting Brazil in 2007.
Benedict XVI’s visit is considered the continuity of the one paid to Cuba by his predecessor, Juan Pablo II, in 1998.
Cubans to Welcome Pope Warmly
Flags, placards and welcoming posters are part of the atmosphere of hospitality to welcome Pope Benedict XVI, who will begin an apostolic visit to Cuba on Monday.
Streets, avenues, public and business facilities, Catholic churches, cars, and houses are full of warm examples for the “Pilgrim of La Caridad del Cobre,” a slogan that will accompany second trip a Supreme Pontiff to Cuba, after the one paid by Pope John Paul II in 1998.
A particular atmosphere prevails in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba, some 900 kilometers (559 miles) east of Havana, and in the capital.
The visit coincides with the Jubilee Year for the 400th anniversary of the discovery of the image of the Virgin of La Caridad del Cobre, Cuba’s patron saint.
Government and religious authorities have predicted a warm and mass welcome for the the head of State of the Vatican, as part of his 23rd apostolic visit, the second one to Latin America. Before this, the Pope visited Brazil in 2007.
Cubans are waiting for the Pope with affection and respect, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez told reporters some days ago.
The president of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Cuba, Monsignor Dionisio Garcia, expressed his confidence in a welcome “with the human warn that characterizes our people.” (Taken from Prensa Latina)
[nggallery id=14] (photos: AIN)