In an intense Sunday, Pope Francis on Sept. 20 said a Mass attended by 200,000 people in Havana’s Revolution Square, visited Fidel Castro, improvised two speeches, and was welcomed with affection by the Cuban people. Here are some details you might have missed while he was in “the Rome of the Caribbean."
Five children from parishes in Havana received First Communion from Pope Francis at the Mass in Revolution Square: Melanie de la Caridad Lugo Rodríguez, Sadhiel Mollinedo Estrada, Gabriela Rodríguez Perdigón, Yelani González Pérez, and Jonathan Michel Torres Cruz. This is the first Pope Francis has administered this sacrament on an apostolic journey.
Communion on the tongue
During the Mass, many priests did everything possible to distribute Communion directly on the tongue to the thousands of faithful in attendance, even though it was permissible to receive in the hand. The pictures speak for themselves.
Sun and Rain
During the Mass celebrated in Revolution Square the temperature hit 104 degrees. Despite the heat, 200,000 Cubans participated in the Eucharist in a spirit of reverence, arriving before dawn. In the afternoon a light rain began to fall but this did not discourage the thousands of young people who listened to the Pope outside Havana’s cathedral.
An Emmy for the Pope
On the flight to Cuba, Pope Francis received a singular gift. Rogelio Mora Tagle, a journalist with Telemundo, gave him the Emmy Award that the TV channel won last year for its coverage of the 2013 conclave in whiche he was elected Bishop of Rome.
“What is greater than an award, Holy Father, is the work of all of us who work for Telemundo and all of those who work in Hispanic television in the United States for all the people that live there and are going through difficult times," the journalist said.
Under the patronage of Our Lady of Charity
Enthroned on the altar at the Mass said in Revolution Square was a beautiful replica statue of Our Lady of Charity of Cobre, who was named the Patroness of Cuba just 100 years ago by Benedict XV. A statue of the Risen Christ from the Havana cathedral was also brought to the square.
University student orchestra
The Symphonic Orchestra of the University of Fine Arts accompanied the choir during the Mass in Revolution Square, showcasing Cuban music. “Many of us are from this school or graduated from it. It’s a great honor that they chose us for this. We’re really happy. We have worked a lot these last days," Anabela Eschevez Acosta, a 24 year old from Camagüey, told CNA.
he flying zuchetto
It happened again. When Pope Francis was stepping down from the airplane at José Martí Airport in Havana, the wind played a trick on him again and lifted off his zucchetto. But this time he was able to retrieve it with the help of a member of the papal entourage.
Popemobile a la Cubana
The Cuban popemobile is a Peugeot Hoggar made in Brazil but assembled as papal vehicle in Cuba. The Cuban mechanics decided that the style should be austere and open on the sides so that Pope Francis could greet the people.
During the last event of the day, among the thousands of youth who joined Pope Francis on the grounds outside the Havana cathedral, a new and catchy chorus was introduced which they chanted in unison “1, 2 y 3, qué Papa más chévere, qué Papa más chévere, el que nos vino a ver," or “1, 2, 3, what a really cool Pope, what a really cool Pope, who’s come to see us".