By Vatican News
Pope Francis on Wednesday recalled his apostolic journey, exactly five years ago, to Cuba and expressed his closeness to the people of the island nation where Covid-19 is bringing great suffering.
In greetings to Spanish-speaking pilgrims at the weekly General Audience in the Vatican, the Pope said he is close to and is praying for his brother bishops and for “all the sons and daughters of that beloved land.”
“I ask the Lord, through the intercession of Our Lady of Charity of Cobre, to free them and alleviate them in these difficult times they are going through because of the pandemic,” he said.
Just a few days ago the bishops of Cuba published a statement in which they recalled Pope Francis’ visit with gratitude and highlighted the pastoral responsibility born from "the experiences of those days of grace".
"The mercy that he left with his visit continues to be an inspiration,” they said, that renews their mission with permanent evangelical spirit.
Covid-19 in Cuba
In their statement, the bishops also spoke of the difficult situation that Covid-19 has created on the island, with prolonged closures and limitations that have put many in need of humanitarian aid.
Over 5,000 infections have been registered so far and about 120 deaths.
Pope Francis visited Cuba on 19 September 2015 on the first leg of his apostolic journey to the United States. He was the third Pontiff to set foot on the Caribbean island.
Blessing of the “Yes to Life” bell
Another group of pilgrims Pope Francis had words of thanks and prayers for was formed by Polish faithful who carried with them a bell called “The Voice of the Unborn” commissioned by the “Yes to Life” Foundation.
The initiative provided the Pope with the occasion to issue an appeal to legislators.
The ringing of this bell, he said, will accompany events aimed at highlighting the value of human life from conception to natural death:
“May its voice awaken the consciences of lawmakers and all men and women of goodwill in Poland and the world. May the Lord, the one and only true giver of life, bless you and your families.”