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 Bishops.
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 days.
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 Cuba.
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 culture.
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.
Havana. March 12, 2012