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Island of mercy

· Initiative of prayer and love in preparation for the Papal visit to Cuba ·

“Missionary of mercy” is the motto of the journey Pope Francis will be making to Cuba from 19 to 22 September. Along this very line Cuba is preparing for the encounter with the Pontiff. 

In fact, a “national collection of mercy” will take place on Sunday, 30 August, to coincide with the beginning of the novena to the Virgin of Charity of Cobre, the country’s patron. As explained by Bishop Dionisio García Ibañez, President of the Cuban Bishops’ Conference, the initiative will involve “all parishes, communities and missionary houses” of the island. The faithful may make donations of food, clothing, games or monies: everything will then be distributed to the most needy.

According to the bishop, the novena to the Virgin of Charity of Cobre “involves not only members of parish communities, but awakens the believing heart of the entire population” and thus will be an occasion directly in preparation for the visit. For this reason, there has been added to the Marian celebrations a special prayer, Por el Papa Francisco y su visita a Cuba: “O God, good Father rich in mercy / through the intercession of the Virgin of Charity, / mother of your Son and our mother / cast your loving gaze / and pour out your grace onto your servant Pope Francis / whom you have made Pastor of the Universal Church. / Allow his word and witness of love / to touch the heart of the Cuban people / whom he comes to visit / as missionary of mercy. / We ask this of You / who live and reign with Jesus Christ, your Son, / in unity with the Holy Spirit / for ever and ever. Amen”.

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