S.O.S Jesus of the Mount

Por: Lázaro Numa Aguila

Desastres en Jesús del Monte

The first hours of Sunday night barely passed twenty-seven January. The Habaneros, who were already waiting for the arrival of a new cold front and some rain, were surprised by an intense and unpredictable tornado. Those of us who had never experienced the fateful experience could not imagine its destructive power. Then we learned that the weather phenomenon had been ousted with several municipalities in our city.

Early in the morning I got a call from a friend.  He said in a sorrowful voice, “I think we lost the first of the outsiders.” He referred to the church of The Good Shepherd of Jesus of the Mount. The parish is located in the municipality of October 10, one of which the first news gave as greatly affected. From what he told me, I understood that the situation there had to be very complicated. I took the camera and set off south of town.

When I arrived at the site I realized that my imagination had not been anything objective. The picture before my eyes surpassed any idealization. My friend was right, the reality was bleak. It wasn’t just about the church, it was a general issue.

En la barriada de Jesús del Monte las afectaciones fueron severas.

In the slum of Jesus of the Mount the affectations were severe.

At the moment I had the impression that I was not in the same place I have been going to for many years, nor that the people around me were the same ones I knew. Although many were engaged in trying to find a solution to the problem they faced, he noticed them lost. It wasn’t for less.

I stopped for a few moments in front of the facade of the church to observe the exterior wreckage. I asked about the parish priest and the mercy friars residing on the site, luckily they were fine. Then I walked over the rubble that hindered the side access aisle, already better aquilating the damage, but I was still far from imagining what I would find later.

Exterior e interior de la parroquia de El Buen Pastor de Jesús del Monte.

Exterior and interior of the parish of El Buen Pastor de Jesús del Monte.

The church lost its bell tower cross, the dome broke, much of the roof flew and some arches of the left nave broke. Religious images could not be saved, the choir and stained glass windows were severely damaged, the doors were damaged. There was little left inside the temple that was not harmed, most of them irreversible.

La tristeza era el sentimiento generalizado en el lugar.
Sadness was the widespread feeling in the place.

At that time I remembered that the same had happened in 1846, when Cyclone San Francisco de Borjas shook Havana. I knew of the fact in the course of my historical research on the parish. Only from the historical account of 1846 to the present reality, it is a good stretch.

The situation of the church of Jesus of the Mount today is serious and very difficult to reverse. To achieve this it is necessary of the contest of all, of material and financial resources, otherwise you would miss a precious jewel of the Cuban Catholic Church, creation of Bishop Diego Evelino de Compostela, admired by Bishop Pedro Agustín Morel de Santa Cruz, blessed on more than one occasion by the mitrado Francisco Fleix y Solans and soaked by Jacinto María Martínez y Sáez.  The parish was the protagonist and witness of great historical events such as The Uprising of the Vegueros, the mutiny of the sailors of the fleet of Francisco Javier Cotilla and Cornejo who tried to take in it and The taking of Havana by the English among many others. She was the administrator of the first rank cemetery of this city and is a historical symbol of the municipality.

 Una señal en medio de tanta desolación.
A sign in the midst of so much desolation.

As I walked inside the destroyed temple in search of what could be saved and trying to take the images that best reflected the disaster, I repaired something that stopped me from the viewfinder and made me instinctively tighten the shutter. At the top of the main altarpiece, in the presbytery, the solitary image of Mary, like a light in the midst of so much uncertainty. After what happened, how was it possible that it was there, lonely and intact? From that moment on a conviction constantly strikes my thought: this will not be the fact that I end the story of the primacy of outsiders, Ω

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.