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Pope will have lunch with the Bishop of Holguín, affiliated with the Institute



‘I’m sure he’ll leave a seed that will produce fruits in relation to other nations,’ says Bishop

18/09/2015: Cuba

During his visit to the Cuban diocese of Holguín, Pope Francis will lunch with Bishop Emilio Aranguren Echevarría – former Marist student and affiliated with the Institute – who believes the pontiff’s visit will have a good impact in the country.

“He will preside Mass in a public square, then come to my house for lunch and rest and then climb the Loma de la Cruz, where he will give a special blessing to the entire diocese and the city of Holguin,” the Bishop told the general house press office.

“I am sure that he will leave a seed planted in our People that will produce fruits of peace, mercy, forgiveness, both within families and in the neighbourhood, as well as in the whole Cuban society and in relation to other nations,” he affirmed in an interview on Sept. 11.

According to Bishop Aranguren Echevarría, the pontiff’s trip “is an expectation not of curiosity but of hope, as if the Pope will bring something good for the whole People.”

He underscored the trip “is also important because of the moment the country is experiencing and the meaning of the Pope being an instrument of God to bring about the re-encounter between Cuba and the United States, with what it entails.”

A Cuban Marist expressed worry that the country can not be able to entirely benefit politically from the pontiff’s visit.

“There are sectors of civil society and Christian communities who are concerned that the visit will not be politically instrumentalised,” said Brother Carlos Martínez Lavín on Sept. 15.

He told the general house press office that there is concern that it may not “contribute to the growth of Cuba in inclusion and in possibilities of a national project involving all Cubans and allowing them all to fit in.”

Pope Francis is visiting Cuba from Sept. 19 – 22 before travelling to the United States from Sept. 22 – 27, a decision Br Carlos said was made by Pope Francis himself, “who suggested it with the wish to contribute to consolidating bridges between the two nations.”  

“Pope Francis is loved by the Cuban People,” he affirmed. “His work in mediating to facilitate the normalisation of relations between the US and Cuba has been a decisive factor in this sympathy.”

“He will undoubtedly have a warm reception,” added the Marist.

Francis will have three public events in the country including Mass on Sept. 20 in Plaza JoséMartí in Havana, an encounter with the youth that eveningand finally Mass on Sept. 21 in Calixto García Square in the city of Holguín – where he will meet with Bishop Aranguren Echevarría.

“I hope these three celebrations (...) are able to encourage the conscious participation of those present and awake seeds of new life,” remarked Br Carlos.

There are two Marists communities in the island, one in Havana, with three brothers, and another in Cienfuegos, with 3 brothers and an aspirant. Cuba is part of the Marist province of Central America.

The Brothers first arrived to Cuba 112 years ago, in 1903, and founded the community of Cienfuegos.

But when the revolutionary government nationalised the schools in 1961, they left and returned 40 years later.

Six years later, they established a second community in the capital, Havana, in 2007.

The Brothers are involved in catechesis and youth ministry in three parishes in Cienfuegos.

In Cienfuegos, they also have a cultural Marist centre, which offers youth academic help, as well as lessons in guitar, dance, sports, English, computer science and manual arts.

In Havana, they animate the catechesis of the parish of Jesús María and they are also involved in the formation of laity in the Félix Varela Centreand and of the seminarians in the archdiocese’s seminary.

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