March 27, 2012.
(Romereports.com) The Plaza of Antonio Maceo in Santiago de Cuba was decorated for the
first Mass that Benedict XVI celebrated on the Caribbean island. Some
250,000 people attended in honor of 400th anniversary of Our Lady of
Charity, among them was Cuba's president Raul Castro.
“This first Holy Mass which
I have the joy of celebrating during my pastoral visit to this country,
takes place in the context of the Marian Jubilee Year called to honor
and to venerate Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre, Patroness of Cuba, in
this fourth centenary of the discovery and presence of her venerable
statue in this blessed land.”
The symphony orchestra of Santiago de Cuba sang during Mass to Cuban rhythms.
During his homily, Benedict XVI said that “the Lord will bless with abundant fruit the generosity of commitment”.
is worth the effort, dear brothers and sisters, to devote your entire
life to Christ, to grow in his friendship each day and to feel called to
proclaim the beauty and the goodness of his life to every person, to
all our brothers and sisters.”
In Cuba, the average length
of a marriage is 18 months. Speaking to young couples, Benedict XVI said
Cuba was in need of faithful marriages.
needs the witness of your fidelity, your unity, your capacity to
welcome human life, especially that of the weakest and most needy.”
The Pope called on Cubans to build a better society “armed with peace, forgiveness and understanding.”
appeal to you to reinvigorate your faith, that you may live in Christ
and for Christ, and armed with peace, forgiveness and understanding,
that you may strive to build a renewed and open society, a better
society, one more worthy of humanity, and which better reflects the
goodness of God.”
Before ending, Benedict XVI gave a golden rose to Cuba's patron of Our Lady of Charity.