That time when St. Pope John Paul II changed Fidel Castro's mind about Christmas

After Fidel Castro gained power in Cuba in 1959, he spent the next decade slowly imposing socialism on the country, including state atheism. In 1960, several Cuban Catholic bishops signed a letter re-affirming the Church’s long-standing rejection of communism and called for Catholics to reject it. In response, his government confiscated Catholic property and arrested… Continue reading That time when St. Pope John Paul II changed Fidel Castro's mind about Christmas

Pope Francis asks for mercy – Cuba responds by pardoning 787 prisoners

Nearly 800 prisoners were pardoned from Cuban prisons at the behest of His Holiness Pope Francis A statement was released Tuesday from the Council of State headed by Cuban President Raúl Castro. He explained the prisoners selected for pardon were chosen based on the crime(s) they committed, their behavior while incarcerated and the remaining time… Continue reading Pope Francis asks for mercy – Cuba responds by pardoning 787 prisoners

Matthew forms in the Caribbean and will track over Bahamas. Will Florida be hit?

Tropical storm Matthew has formed in the Caribbean and appears likely to brush the east coast of Florida. The storm is on track to strike most of the islands in the Caribbean. Tropical storm Matthew has formed and is taking aim at Cuba. The storm is presently south of Puerto Rico, moving west at 16… Continue reading Matthew forms in the Caribbean and will track over Bahamas. Will Florida be hit?

Obama meets with Cuban Cardinal Ortega, in recognition of the key role he played in the US-Cuba reconciliation process

President Obama, his wife and daughters met with the Archbishop of Havana, Cardinal Jaime Lucas Ortega on his first historic visit to the Island nation. President Obama’s three-day visit to the country will focus on deepening long-neglected commercial ties between the two countries. Cardinal Ortega and Pope Francis played key roles in helping restore relations… Continue reading Obama meets with Cuban Cardinal Ortega, in recognition of the key role he played in the US-Cuba reconciliation process

Catholic bishops support Obama's vow to close down Notorious Guantanamo Prison

U.S. President Barak Obama is trying to keep good on his 2008 campaign promise to close down the Notorious Guantanamo Prison. On Tuesday, he officially announced his intention to close down the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and transfer most of the detainees to a facility in the U.S., a proposal the Catholic Bishops has… Continue reading Catholic bishops support Obama's vow to close down Notorious Guantanamo Prison

For Cubans, the Pope’s visit brought hope – but will it last?

After Pope Francis’ visit as a “missionary of mercy,” Cuba is now in a prime moment to move forward in its relationship with the Church and work for the common good, said a representative of an aid group that works in the country. “What he brought them above all was his message of the ‘logic… Continue reading For Cubans, the Pope’s visit brought hope – but will it last?

The family is the answer to the world’s brokenness, says Pop

The Pope reviewed his papal visit to Cuba and the US during his general audience in St Peter’s Square The family is the answer to the two extremes facing the world — fragmentation and “homogenisation”, in which everything is forced to be the same, Pope Francis said. The family based on marriage between a man… Continue reading The family is the answer to the world’s brokenness, says Pop

Aboard papal plane, Francis defends his teaching on social issues

The Pope spoke to reporters on his flight from Cuba to America Pope Francis defended his position on the economy, the environment and other social issues as faithful repetitions of the basic Catholic social doctrine. Speaking to reporters flying with him from Cuba to Washington on Tuesday, the Pope was asked about comments, mainly from… Continue reading Aboard papal plane, Francis defends his teaching on social issues

Visit to Cuban shrine gives Pope quiet time for prayer

Francis spent 45 minutes meeting with Cuba’s 17 bishops at the Shrine of Our Lady of Charity In one of the calmer, more intimate moments of his visit to Cuba, Pope Francis and the country’s bishops offered special prayers to the Cuba’s patroness, Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre. The prayer on Monday at… Continue reading Visit to Cuban shrine gives Pope quiet time for prayer

Cuban youth who exchanged zucchettos with the Pope felt the 'tenderness of God'

When he learned that a Pope would visit his city for the first time, Manuel Alejandro Rodríguez Yong dreamed of getting a white zucchetto to exchange with Pope Francis. Yong not only achieved that dream but was also able to experience the “tenderness of God” in the embrace the Pope gave him, he said. Yong,… Continue reading Cuban youth who exchanged zucchettos with the Pope felt the 'tenderness of God'

Pope blesses unborn children around the world while meeting with Cuban families

Pope Francis met with families on Tuesday at Our Lady of the Assumption Cathedral in Santiago de Cuba, thanking those gathered for their warm witness and inclusive nature, reflecting that it is at home, in the family, that Christ shows the love of God. Going off script from his prepared remarks Sept. 22, the Pope… Continue reading Pope blesses unborn children around the world while meeting with Cuban families

Pope ends Cuban trip with address to families, heads to US

Pope Francis ends his visit to Cuba on Tuesday with a Mass at the country’s most revered shrine and a pep talk with families before flying north to Washington for the start of his US tour. Francis’ address to families and symbolically potent flight to the United States underscore two of the big themes of… Continue reading Pope ends Cuban trip with address to families, heads to US

Pope asks Cubans to imitate Mary's 'revolution of tenderness'

During Mass on Tuesday Pope Francis praised the rich devotion to Our Lady of Charity seeded in the hearts of Cubans, and told them to be like her in making haste to meet the needs of others in tenderness and charity. “Generation after generation, day after day, we are asked to renew our faith. We… Continue reading Pope asks Cubans to imitate Mary's 'revolution of tenderness'

For Pope Francis in Cuba, even the pastoral becomes political

Halfway through his three-day trip to Cuba, which comes just ahead of a Sept. 22-27 visit to the United States, Pope Francis appeared to switch gears. He moved away from social and political commentary directed largely at Cuba, towards pastoral messages with a basically universal application. The shift was dictated largely by the pontiff’s schedule.… Continue reading For Pope Francis in Cuba, even the pastoral becomes political

US diplomat tells pilgrims they can help normalise relations with Cuba

Diplomatic progress is being made every day, Jeffrey DeLaurentis told US Catholics in Cuba The top US diplomat to Cuba told a group of US Catholics that they can help play a role in their country’s normalisation of relations with Cuba. “As we all know, this visit from Pope Francis comes in the context of… Continue reading US diplomat tells pilgrims they can help normalise relations with Cuba

Jesus sees dignity in all of us, Pope tells faithful in Holguin

The Pope addressed thousands of Cubans on the feast of St Matthew Celebrating the feast of St Matthew, a day he considers a turning point in his own journey of faith, Pope Francis told thousands of Cubans that Jesus knows who they really are and calls them to walk with him. Arriving in the eastern… Continue reading Jesus sees dignity in all of us, Pope tells faithful in Holguin

Pope Francis' gift to Castro: a challenging message from Cuban leader's old teacher

Pope Francis met with Fidel Castro on Sunday and gave him a special gift: a book and two CDs with the homilies and songs of Father Armando Llorente, a Jesuit priest who was Castro’s school teacher. Before Father Llorente’s death, he publically asked for Castro’s conversion and repentance. Father Llorente was Castro’s teacher and mentor… Continue reading Pope Francis' gift to Castro: a challenging message from Cuban leader's old teacher

Reports: Anti-government activists prevented from meeting Pope in Cuba

Two dissidents claim they were prevented from attending the Pope’s vespers service at the Cathedral of Havana on Sunday Two high-profile Cuban dissidents have claimed they were prevented by security forces from taking up an invitation to attend the Pope’s vespers service at the Cathedral of Havana on Sunday, according to reports. Marta Beatriz Roque… Continue reading Reports: Anti-government activists prevented from meeting Pope in Cuba

Pope prays for success of Colombia peace talks in Cuba

Representatives of FARC and the Colombian government have been holding talks in Cuba since late 2012 Vatican officials ruled out a Pope Francis meeting in Cuba with representatives of the Colombian government and a Colombian rebel group, but the Pope offered public prayers for the success of their peace talks. “May the blood shed by… Continue reading Pope prays for success of Colombia peace talks in Cuba

Francis urges leaders to ‘persevere on path’ of dialogue as he arrives in Cuba

Pope hails improved relations between Cuba and United States as he begins 10-day visit Pope Francis has arrived in Cuba at the start of a 10-day visit to the Americas. He was greeted at Havana airport by Cuban president Raúl Castro. In a short address marking his arrival, the Pope said: “This year of 2015… Continue reading Francis urges leaders to ‘persevere on path’ of dialogue as he arrives in Cuba