· On the first day of his visit in Cuba the Pope encourages the process of normalizing relations with the United States ·
To religious he recommends a spirit of poverty and asks the youth never to lose the ability to dream
The Pope is in Cuba to encourage policy makers to develop the country's potential at the service of peace, the people's well-being and reconciliation. On arriving in Havana on Saturday afternoon, Francis clearly explained from the start the themes which will characterize the 10th visit of his Pontificate, placing the desire for peace at the centre.
The theme of peace first began to echo during his greeting to journalists on the flight from Rome to the Caribbean island and it was proposed again during the welcome ceremony, at which President Raúl Castro was present. The Head of State participated in the Mass that Francis celebrated the following day in Plaza de la Revolución in Havana. In his homily, the Holy Father recalled “the great paradox of Jesus”, explaining that the logic of the Gospel urges service to others and not the act of being served. It is a message that is not only pertinent for Cuba but for all of Latin America. He confirmed this also at the Angelus when the Pope appealed for peace in Colombia. The morning concluded with a private meeting with Fidel Castro.
The second half of the day was full of meetings, including a courtesy visit at the presidential palace and one unscheduled stop at the Church of the Sacred Heart run by the Jesuits. Then the Pope met with religious and the youth. During both meetings — the first, held in the Cathedral and the second, outside of the cultural centre named after Fr Félix Varela — Francis set aside his prepared text and improvised his addresses, suggesting a spirit of poverty to the consecrated and urging the young people never to lose the ability of dream.
On Monday, the Pope left the capital of Cuba for the city of Holguín, where he will celebrate Mass and impart a blessing on the city before travelling to Santiago de Cuba, his third and final stop on the island.
St. Peter’s Square
Feb. 16, 2019
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