Marking this Cuban city’s milestone anniversary, the Pope in his video message says that over these five centuries, many lives given for others, many dreams, efforts, shared sacrifices have been intertwined to build the present and future of the children of Cuba.
On this auspicious occasion, the Pontiff emphasizes three historical aspects of the city that still continue to be pillars today, 500 years on from the city’s foundation.
These are, he says, faith, hope and charity.
Faith, the Pope notes, is in the roots of the city. “And the roots sustain the life that is developing, the roots nourish, the roots help to grow.” “Do not forget those roots, the witness of faith of your ancestors”, he stresses.
The Pope also underscores the importance of the Eucharist in Christian life, saying, “the sacrament gathers us Christians as a people before the presence of the Lord who speaks to us, nourishes us, sends us to be witnesses in the midst of the world.”
The Lord Jesus, says Pope Francis, “invites us to be witnesses of faith and also witnesses of charity and love.”
Charity, highlights the Pope, is another aspect that distinguishes the Cuban people, and which is passed down from Mary, the Mother of Jesus.
“The charity that Mary teaches us is to give love, and to give it with tenderness, with dedication, and to give love in daily life”, he says.
Finally, dwelling on the pillar of hope, Pope Francis underlines that the Jubilee that the Cuban people are celebrating is a reason to renew hope.
“Just as St. Cristobal [Christopher] charged and carried his brothers and sisters on his shoulders, so also among yourselves, I ask you to support, help, encourage and move forward without losing heart, always with a look toward the goal.”
The Pope points out that, “there will always be difficulties in life, people will have difficulties, but this unity of a people, united in charity, in the hope of moving forward, helps people to grow strong.”