From June 14 to 18, the Catholic Bishops of Cuba had an extraordinary plenary Assembly in the “San Juan María Vianney” Priestly House in Havana, in which the Apostolic Nuncio also participated.
In this meeting, Monsignor Marcos Pirán, auxiliary bishop of Holguín, who received the episcopal consecration on May 15, participated for the first time. At the same time, it was said goodbye with deep gratitude to Archbishop José Félix Pérez Riera, who for almost twenty-eight years served as Deputy Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference, a role that will now be performed by Father Ariel Suárez Jáuregui, who was welcomed .
Among the topics discussed has been of particular importance the convocation, by the Holy Father Francis, for the whole Church, of a synodal process that, “from the bottom up,” will place the entire people of God to listen to the Holy Spirit to discover and realize God’s will for his Church at this moment in history.
By the way, Bishop Aranguren, as president of the Episcopal Conference, participated last Wednesday in an online telematic conference along with sixty other bishops from various Spanish-speaking countries. Connected with each other and with those responsible in Rome of the General Secretariat of the Synod, presided over by Cardinal Mario Grech, they had the extraordinary and fraternal opportunity to receive information, ask questions and suggestions and exchange concerns in relation to this synodal journey that seeks to have a ecclesial experience, a time of grace and renewal in missionary ardor.
The bishops of Cuba have also analyzed the life of the Catholic communities and the Cuban people in this period marked by the pandemic and by a worsening of the nation’s economic situation, with its inevitable consequences for the social fabric. They have reviewed the implications of these elements in the life of pastoral agents, parishes and communities, and have shared initiatives and experiences that have emerged in the different dioceses to face the challenges that derive from them.
They have also stopped to consider family problems and have echoed the concerns of so many families, Catholic or not, who have addressed the pastors asking for a word of enlightenment and hope. The proximity of the celebration of Father’s Day in Cuba has seemed a propitious occasion for the bishops to convey congratulations and a message that encourages reflection and invites trust.
The bishops have also dealt with the National Ratio for the formation of candidates for the priesthood and the permanent diaconate. They have reviewed issues related to the liturgical calendar, to take into account festivals and saints of great popular devotion and the future promulgation of missals and lectionaries that, in compliance with ecclesiastical regulations, are adapted to the language and style understood by our people.
The Assembly took place in an atmosphere of prayer and fraternity. The bishops, together with the daily Eucharistic celebration, have constantly asked the Holy Spirit and Our Lady of Charity for inspiration, protection and blessings on Cuba and her Church. And they have looked with enthusiasm and hope at this synodal path that is coming to us, asking the Lord to be a true moment of rebirth and renewal of the ecclesial life of our communities, so lacerated by it throughout the pandemic.
Taking advantage of their presence in Havana coinciding with the end of the course of the Seminary “San Carlos y San Ambrosio”, the bishops have participated in the final Mass of the 2020-2021 Course in that training center for future priests of Cuba.