Welcome to His Holiness Benedict XVI
ON Monday, March 26 the Cuban people
will warmly and respectfully receive Pope Benedict
XVI, Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church and head
of state of Vatican City, as a guest of the
government and the Cuban Conference of Catholic
Cuba is honored to welcome his
Holiness with hospitality and demonstrate the
patriotism, culture, solidarity and humanist
vocation of its people, which sustains the history
and unity of our nation.
We will also welcome, with our
characteristic friendship, the thousands of pilgrims
present for what doubtless will be highly memorable
Fourteen years ago, with the same
sentiments, the Cuban people received Pope John Paul
II who, before leaving, spoke of "the profound
impression" his stay made on him and gave thanks for
the "cordial hospitality, a genuine expression of
the Cuban soul."
The apostolic visit of Pope Benedict
XVI, which will continue through March 28, is
motivated by the 400th anniversary of the discovery
of the image of the Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre.
Recently, her statue toured the
country in the company of believers and non-believers.
We are confident that His Holiness
will retain warm memories of the island and will
value his visit as a demonstration of confidence and
a renewed expression of the excellent and
uninterrupted relations between the Holy See and
In recent months, authorities of the
Catholic Church, the Vatican and the Cuban
government have all been working toward making Pope
Benedict XVI’s visit a success.
From his arrival in the eastern
province of Santiago de Cuba, the cradle of national
independence struggles, the Pope will be welcomed
and accompanied by Cuban men and women.
The mass presence of the population
in Santiago de Cuba and Havana, joined by
compatriots from other provinces, will express the
country’s satisfaction given the opportunity to
receive the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church
and will demonstrate our unity, community spirit and
His Holiness will meet with a people
secure in its convictions, noble, educated,
impartial and organized, who defend the truth and
listen with respect.
From his reception in Santiago de
Cuba’s Antonio Maceo y Grajales Plaza de la
Revolución and the José Martí Plaza de la Revolución
in Havana, to his farewell, Pope Benedict XVI will
find a nation fighting for human dignity, freedom,
independence, solidarity and the common good, in
order to win justice and a better world, which is
not only possible, but essential.