Many messages were received by the writing of this magazine in response to the briefing note we published about the death last October 5 of our dear Maricruz. All, more extensive or shorter, praised his rich personality, which he developed as a lay woman in the field of the Cuban Catholic Church. Every note read speaks a lot and well of who Maria Cruz García Bellota was.
I met her on August 15, 1986 during an interdiocesan coexistence of the Organized Seglar Apostolate (ASO). She and her husband José Ramón Pérez, attended through the Archdiocese of Havana, were accompanied by their young son about five years old. After this we became very close. As a lay gathering there was, there was José Ramón y Maricruz, a binomial of inseparable names, which put a colophon to a married life that reflected his family and ecclesial commitment. They had married on April 18, 1971 in the parish of the Holy Angel Custodian and remained united until death separated them. just two days ago.
Maricruz began his lay life in the Catholic Student Youth, belonging to cuban Catholic Action. It was from this lineage of lay people that is increasingly scarce in our present Church. Like so many other members of that organization, he had lay identity. He knew very well what it was like to be lay, what he belonged to do and what he didn’t. He did not ask for power quotas within the Catholic community. He knew that his apostolate was outside the four walls of the temple, in the public world, in the social environments of a republican Cuba that had been born constitutionally lay, but not anti-religious. She was one of that legion of lay people who took advantage of each other as much time as they were presented to exercise their apostolate. They had one goal: to save their soul and that of others. They lived an exemplary life, which many took as a reference point. They were proud of what they did without petulant arrogance to belong to Catholic Action, which began from child aspiration to the specialization of secondary education (in which Maricruz began) to lead to the men and women of a more mature association. They were men and women of the Church, pious, but not prudians.
María Cruz García Bellota y familia
As a rule, they cared for their souls with the assiduous frequency of the sacraments of confession and communion. They knew that their lay identity was born, as the venerable Pius XII clarified, of baptism and confirmation, that he committed them to an active apostolate. They collaborated with the priests in those parish activities that they asked of them, such as catechesis. This was one of the first and fundamental tasks that Maricruz carried out in his parish of the Holy Guardian Angel without longing to be a prominent protagonist in the community.
When Cuban Catholic Action died in 1967, the bishops created a new lay structure, the Organized Seglar Apostolate (ASO) and Maricruz was part of it. In this way, she and José Ramón arrived at the Cuban Ecclesial Reflection (REC) in 1983. They were delegated to the Diocesan Habanera Assembly in 1985 and, in February 1986, delegates to the Cuban National Ecclesial Meeting (ENEC). When the ASO was dissolved, José Ramón y Maricruz were the first presidents of the newly created Diocesan Family Movement, which later became the Christian Family Movement. Both integrated the diocesan council of laity, while still working, as was typical of those times, with the State, faithful to their lay vocation. Upon retiring, Maricruz served as teaching secretary at the Seminary San Carlos and San Ambrosio. This happened during the first four years of the present century. At the same time, she was a catechist and then a volunteer teacher in her Habanera parish of Monserrate.
Maricruz has left us a pleasant memory, which must always accompany us. The finesse and delicacy of his person and the musicality of his leisurely speaking did not detract from his balanced criteria, which he knew how to express in tone with the moment and place. In this way he appeared before the court of God. His rich personality leaves us with a desire: That there are many Cuban lay people like Maricruz in the current Catholic Church, so in need of them!
Havana, October 7, 2020.