Pope Francis visits Cuba
On 19th September 2015 Pope Francis will arrive in Havana, Cuba. The Pope is expected to tour the island with President Raul Castro and will celebrate Mass at three different cities, Havana, Holguin and Santiago de Cuba.
Pope Francis is expected to deliver his first sermon of the trip celebrating Mass in Havana’s Plaza of the Revolution, where thousands are expected to attend.
Bishops in Cuba released a statement saying “"The Holy Father wants to show us how important this moment is for him…Thanks in part to his mediation, our country has a new breath of hope as a result of the new possibilities created by the dialogue taking place between the United States and Cuba." In 1973 Fidel Castro predicted in the international press that the United States will come to talk to us when they have a black president and the world has a Latin American Pope.
Raul and Francis met privately in May at the Vatican, afterwards Raul reported that he was so impressed with the discussions he was considering returning to the church.
It is anticipated that the Pope will urge Raul to allow the reopening of Catholic schools in Cuba. However education in Cuba is secular therefore any alterations would need a change in Cuba's' Constitution by mass consultation and support of the population. The Argentinian Pope has been a popular figure in Cuba though recent surveys did indicate as many as 50% of Cuban residents do not consider themselves religious.
On Monday 21st September 2015, Pope Francis will bless and celebrate Mass in public at Cuba’s fourth largest city Holguin, then continuing to Our Lady of Charity at El Cobre near to Santiago de Cuba.
The following day Pope Francis is intending to meet with local Cuban families in Santiago de Cuba and celebrate Mass in the city’s Central Plaza.
In the past Pope Francis has been known to deviate from schedules and he frequently stops to speak with people on the streets, the Cuban tour should be no different. Previous Pope visits have been broadcast live on Cuba television, therefore it is expected that Francis’ tour will be no different.
news in Cuba