Pope Francis encouraged Cuban young people that, as witnesses of Christ’s Resurrection, they let themselves be “transformed into missionary disciples, so that many young people can discover the Lord Jesus’ presence, listen to His call, grow in friendship with Him and thus lead a life founded on fidelity to Him and mercy.”
The Holy Father addressed Cuba’s young people on July 31, on the occasion of the 2nd National Youth Day, held on August 1, 2019, in the country’s dioceses with the theme ”Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to thy Word.”
In addition to greeting the event’s participants and organizers, through Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, the Pope encouraged young people to follow Mary’s example and thus “experience the joy born of having encountered Jesus Christ.”
Finally, the Pontiff asked God, through the intercession of the Most Holy Virgin of Charity of Cobre, to “protect with His infinite love all Cuban young people, accompanying them in all the moments of their life,” and he imparted to them his Apostolic Blessing, “as symbol of copious divine graces.”
Message of Monsignor Garcia Ibanez
In a special message for this 2nd National Youth Day, the Archbishop of Santiago de Cuba, Monsignor Dionisio Garcia Ibanez explained that, although it was planned that the meeting be shared by all in Santiago and then go on pilgrimage to the Shrine of the Virgin of Charity of Cobre, given “the changing economic situation, the insecurity in the services and their high cost,” the Bishops decided to extend the preparation for the Day to all the dioceses.
So this year 2019, the National Youth Day took place in the premises of Cuba’s dioceses — 11 in total.
Moreover, in face of the Authorities’ recent decision not to authorize celebrations outside the churches in the said dioceses, with the exception of Santiago de Cuba, Monsignor Garcia Ibanez informed that “the public celebration of the Via Crucis” and” “the pilgrimage to a Marian Shrine, planned among the events in each diocese, were suspended.
The Archbishop added that these “unexpected and undesired” situations have pushed them to commit themselves “even more in the achievement of the initial objectives and to discover God’s presence in the events.” He also clarified that the “events are not what is most important, they can fail. What is important is the process carried out and the attainment of the objectives proposed, namely, what is essential.”