Very late last night after our parish mission was completed, I sat down to watch a replay of the Papal Mass in Santiago de Cuba. I watched with great emotion as His Holiness was received with great joy and faith by the Cuban people.
I heard the young people of Cuba tell the Holy Father: “Brother Benedict, the Cuban young people belong to Christ.”
I heard the Archbishop of Santiago get emotional as he implored the Pope as his predecessor did 14 years ago to Blessed John Paul II that the Supreme Pontiff pray for a people divided that needed to get beyond the violence and the discord that still haunts this beautiful island.
I heard the Successor of St. Peter tell the Cuban people that “before the gaze of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre, I 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.”
I saw a people yearning for Christ, yearning for his love, and yes, yearning for freedom.
May these days in which the Vicar of Christ becomes a pilgrim himself in the homeland of my parents and grandparents, be days of peace and reconciliation. May Christ reign in the hearts of all Cubans and may all Cuban hearts turn to Christ because only in the presence of the Son of God and the Son of Mary will we truly be free. Our Lady of Charity, pray for us.