Pope Francis, the Pontiff of the Catholic Church, and the head of state of Vatican City, will make an apostolic visit to Cuba, September 19-22.
Beginning with his arrival in Havana, he will receive a cordial welcome from the Cuban government and the capital city’s people. Pope Francis will be able to appreciate the respect, affection and hospitality which we will all proffer during his stay in our homeland.
He will witness our patriotism and the nation’s arduous, fruitful effort to dignify human beings, with justice and culture, with a better world which is not only possible but necessary.
The Pontiff’s presence in Cuba confirms the positive state of relations between the Cuban government and the Vatican, which this year reach the 80th anniversary of their continuous existence.
Outstanding among the important moments in this relationship are the visit of Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz to the Vatican in 1996, Pope John Paul’s 1998 stay in Cuba, and that of Benedict XVI in 2012, as well as the positive meeting, this past May, of President Raúl Castro Ruz with Pope Francis in the Vatican.
Over the last few months, Vatican authorities and the Conference of Cuban Catholic Bishops, along with the government, have worked to create conditions which will allow for the successful completion of planned activities.
Pilgrims from other parts of the world, who may want to accompany us on this significant occasion, will be welcomed with characteristic Cuban friendliness.
The masses which Pope Francis will officiate in the Plazas de la Revolución “José Martí” and “Calixto García”, in Havana and Holguín, respectively, on the mornings of Sunday the 20th and Monday the 21st of September, will be attended by great numbers of compatriots from all of our provinces.
Bishops, priests, religious men and women, seminary students and lay people will attend. The Pope will greet Cuban youth and families; he will celebrate a mass at the Cobre Sanctuary of Our Lady of Charity, declared Cuba’s patron saint by Benedict XVI.
We will listen to the Pope’s words with respect and attention, demonstrating that we are an educated, dignified people, who as worthy hosts will share our history, culture and traditions with him – a people immersed in the process of updating its socio-economic model, committed to the defense of our national sovereignty, the preservation of our social accomplishments, and achieving greater wellbeing for all, excluding no one.
From the heroic city of Santiago de Cuba, we will bid farewell to the first Latin American Pope, after providing him a convincing demonstration of our unity, solidarity and commitment to humanity.