March 27, 2012.
(Romereports.com) During his second day in Cuba, the Pope visited the Sanctuary that honors Our Lady of Charity,
the patroness of Cuba. The Pope noted the deep devotion Cubans have
for her, by saying that he too, has specifically prayed to her, and for those who suffer.
have also prayed to the Virgin for the needs of those who suffer, of
those who are deprived of freedom, those who are separated from their
loved ones or who are undergoing times of difficulty.”
story behind that sanctuary goes back centuries. Back in 1684 three
fishermen survived a dangerous storm. Afterward, the found a statue of
Our Lady out in the ocean. The image had the words, “I am the Virgin of Charity.” That same statue is now in the Sanctuary.
Cuban bishops also attended the ceremony. The Pope told them, and the crowd, that Our Lady is a sign of hope, especially for younger generations.
have placed in her Immaculate Heart your young people, that they may be
authentic friends of Christ and not succumb to things which bring
sadness in their wake.”
XVI said the prayer of Our Lady of Charity before lighting a candle and
praying before her. He also referenced religious freedom, by praying
for those who celebrate Mass in their home or in centers.
I cannot forget the many country people and their families who wish to
live the Gospel deeply in their homes and who offer their homes as
mission centers for the celebration of Mass.”
After the ceremony, the Pope greeted Cuban faithful who were gathered outside the Sanctuary.
He then urged them to work justice and charity, with Christ, even amid the every day challenges they face.