The city of Holguin is the second city Pope Francis visited in Cuba. Before making his way to the city's Revolution Square to celebrate Mass, he made his way through the streets in the popemobile, blessing the cheering crowds along the way.
Reflecting on the spiritual transformation of St. Matthew, the Pope reminded pilgrims that above everything else, God transforms hearts.
"The Lord can see beyond appearances, beyond sin, beyond failures and unworthiness. He sees beyond our rank in society. He sees beyond this, to our dignity as sons and daughters.”
For Jesus, said the Pope, recognizes one's essence, not only sins and personal failures. His love, he added, gives rise to service and missionary activity.
"Jesus’ love heals our short-sightedness and pushes us to look beyond, not to be satisfied with appearances or with what is politically correct.”
The Pope then called on Christians to help the excluded and abandoned, the sick and prisoners.
He also thanked Catholic families on the island, who turn their homes into prayer centers, known locally as 'mission houses.'
"I would like mention especially the 'mission houses' which, given the shortage of churches and priests, provide for many people a place for prayer, for listening to the word of God, for catechesis and community life.”
Since Our Lady of Charity is the Patroness of the island, he also prayed to Her, asking to look out for everyone, especially those who feel they have no place.
Then, as usual before leaving the Square, the Pope asked the crowd to pray for him.