Church in Cuba Preparing for Pope’s Arrival With Novena

Feast of Patroness, Our Lady of Charity, Comes Just Days Before Papal Trip

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The Cuban episcopal conference has invited the Cuban people to take part in a preparatory novena for the Feast of Our Lady of Charity of Cobre, the Island’s Patroness, as part of their preparation for the forthcoming visit of Pope Francis, “who will arrive in our homeland as a Missionary of Mercy.”

The feast of Our Lady of Charity is marked Sept. 8, which is also the feast of Mary’s birth.

In a message published on its Web page, the prelates explain that “devotion to our Mother of Charity mobilizes not only the members of the communities that are part of the parishes but it also awakens the believing heart of our people.”

“Therefore, She calls the convocation with her Mother’s heart, attracts everyone without excluding anyone,” the bishops said.

“This is one of the most propitious moments for the mission,” the bishops observed, “and we would like to live this time of Grace intensely, sparing no efforts, and in keeping with the invitation of the pastoral plan for ‘Pastoral Conversion’ to help smooth the way so that all can have a simpler and more profound experience of God, feel welcome and see themselves as members of Jesus’ family which is the Church.”

Pope Francis will be in Cuba from Sept. 19-22, before travelling to the United Sates.

“The joy his visit has sparked is amazing and has awakened great expectation, which renews hope and encourages us to commit ourselves to work to build among us a homeland of brothers,” the bishops said.

The Pope last year sent the faithful a letter for the Feast of the Virgin of Charity of Cobre. The bishops recalled his words, saying his threefold exhortation to rejoice, to rise up and to persevere that he invited us to practice, following Mary’s example, “still appear on posters on some Mission Houses and churches.”

On ZENIT’s Web site:

Pope’s letter for last year’s feast: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-s-letter-to-bishops-of-cuba-on-patroness-feast-day

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