Cuban Catholics Relying on "Prayer Homes"

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 11, 2005 ( It’s practically impossible for Catholics in Cuba to build new churches, so «prayer homes» have opened to gather small Christian communities, a Cuban prelate told the Synod of Bishops.

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Auxiliary Bishop Alfredo Victor Petit Vergel of Havana presented a report Monday to the synod on how the local Church lives its relationship with the Eucharist.

Given «the difficulty and virtual impossibility of constructing new temples,» explained the prelate, «we have what is called ‘prayer homes’ or ‘mission homes’ in the suburbs and in the small villages and country homes where, each week or as often as possible, a small group of faithful, not more than 40, gather under the guidance of a committed lay person, a religious or a deacon.»

«The priest arrives and the holy Mass is celebrated in these places with great devotion, … having already celebrated the corresponding sacrament of confession for those who, with the due dispositions, desire to participate in the Eucharistic Bread,» he said.

In Cuba, there are 20,479 baptized faithful and 37,063 inhabitants for every priest.

«In spite of the lack of priests,» Bishop Petit Vergel added, «we appreciate the Eucharist very much and celebrate it with great respect for the liturgical precepts.»

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