Pope Francis recalls 25th anniversary of JPII's visit to Cuba
By Lisa Zengarini
Pope Francis has sent a letter to Cardinal Juan de la Caridad García Rodríguez of San Cristóbal de La Habana, the Bishops and the People of God of Cuba.
He conveyed his blessings and closeness to the Cuban Church, as it marks the 25th anniversary of Pope St. John Paul II’s Apostolic Journey to the country, on 21-25 January 1998.
The message was consigned by Cardinal Beniamino Stella, Prefect Emeritus of the former Congregation for Clergy, who at the time was the Apostolic Nuncio to Cuba, and has been invited to the celebrations.
Cuban Christian roots have flourished
Recalling the words addressed by St. John Paul II to the youth of Cuba on 23 January 1998, Pope Francis encouraged the Cuban faithful to continue building the future of their nation “with hope and determination."
He also urged them to return to their “Christian roots” and identity so as “to build a future of ever greater dignity and freedom”.
The Pope noted that those roots “have grown and flourished” in the testimony of many Cubans working every day for others, “and especially for the most needy”.
Continue walking together
The Pope then thanked the Cuban people for their “example of collaboration and mutual help” that unites them and reveals the spirit that characterizes the Cuban people: "openness, hospitality and supportiveness".
Citing the Servant of God Felix Varela Morales, a Cuban priest and philosopher, as a testimony of the "need to take root in goodness and the fruitfulness of this effort”, Pope Francis concluded his letter by inviting the Cuban people to continue “to go deeper into” their roots “with courage and responsibility”, and to bear their fruits “united in faith, hope and charity”.
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