Cuba prepares for papal visit

Sep 14, 2015 Preparations for the papal visit coincided with the annual celebrations for Our Lady of Regla and Cubans took part in a procession after a mass in the National Sanctuary of Our Lady of Regla.

The saint, otherwise known as the Black Madonna, is a syncretic mixture of the Catholic Virgin Mary and the Yoruba Goddess of the Sea, Yemanya, which was first worshipped on the island by African slaves.

“We are very Caribbean, and our country has African characteristics, but we are also Catholic, those are our roots. It is within these roots that we were founded, and we are here cooperating and waiting for the arrival of the Pope,” said Sandra, a resident of Havana.

According to Orlando Marquez, the spokesperson for the Archbishop of Havana, Cubans are excited about the visit of Pope Francis.

“Preparations are underway and I think the general feeling is a positive one. People have a lot of hope in Pope Francis because of everything he represents, because he is Latin American, because we know that he took part in this process of dialogue between Cuba and the United States, he contributed to this process and people want to thank him for this. They will have the opportunity to thank him personally,”

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