The first mass to be officiated by Pope Benedict XVI upon his arrival in Santiago de Cuba next March 26th, will be presided over by the image of the Virgin of Charity which, according to Archbishop Dionisio Garcia, will be exceptionally moved from her altar in El Cobre to the Antonio Maceo Revolution Square.
The Pope visit is mainly aimed at “attending the celebrations for the Marian Jubilee Year” to mark the 400 anniversary of the presence of the Virgin of Charity in Cuba.
In a message broadcasted by Cuban national television last March 23rd, Santiago de Cuba’s Archbishop reminded that the Pope visit is mainly aimed at “attending the celebrations for the Marian Jubilee Year” to mark the 400 anniversary of the presence of the Virgin of Charity in Cuba.
The also president of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Cuba said that, this way, the saint “will be closer to the Cuban people, represented by pilgrims from all the provinces, by others who live out of the country and, mostly by Santiago residents”.
Likewise, he explained that for the Havana’s March 28th liturgy, the effigy of the Cuban virgin will brought in a procession from the Cathedral to the Jose Marti Revolution Square.
The priest invited all the people, both believers and non believers, to attend the welcome ceremony and the masses to be officiated by the Holy Father, and to watch the visit of the Pontiff to El Cobre next March 27th.
On the other hand, the religious leader informed that, in 2008, on occasion of the visit they should pay to the Vatican every five years, Cuban bishops officially invited Benedict VXI to take part in the Marian Jubilee Year celebration in the Caribbean island.
He said to have noticed expectations among the Santiago de Cuba people due to the Pope visit. He also praised the efforts made both in this city and in Havana, to renovate the streets, houses and buildings that will accommodate the Holy Father.
During his apostolic and official visit, Benedict XVI, second Pope who has ever visited the island, will officiate masses in large outdoors locations, will pay tribute to the Virgin of El Cobre and will hold meetings with Cuban authorities.
(Taken from Cubadebate and translated by Escambray)