Conference of Catholic Bishops in Cuba
The Catholic Bishops, in our capacity as pastors, and following our collegial approach, having prayed, reflected and discerned, we wish to address to them this Message, moved by pastoral affection and responsibility.
As men of faith, our gaze is first and for all on God, who, as a good Father, cares for his children with personal love, as Jesus teaches us in the Gospel: “Why are you worried? Look how God takes care of the flowers of the countryside and the birds of heaven. And if God takes care of flowers and birds, how can He not take care of you who are worth much more than flowers and birds?” (Mt. 6.26 s.). Jesus also invites us: “Come unto Me those who are tired and overwhelmed, and I will relieve them” (Mt 11:28).
Evangelical teaching asks us to take care of life, and at the same time, to give life out of love to others. That is why we greatly value the heroic testimony offered by doctors and health workers to those infected with the virus in our homeland and elsewhere in the world. Our gratitude also extends to the priests, deaconos, religious, volunteers of Caritas, extraordinary ministers of Communion, nuns of various Congregations and Brothers of St. John of God, as well as to the employees of the Homes of Elders who, in this complex hour have continued to serve and charitably comfort many who suffer in their bodies or spirits.
We are aware of the vulnerability we all have in the face of this pandemic, but this must not prevent us from being able to live these difficult times. The “social estinement” we must practice to prevent contagion, It offers us the opportunity to share as a family, praying together, and in these days near Holy Week, during it and on successive Sundays, to read and meditate on the Word of God in the Bible and to pray with the Psalms, identifying ourselves and making their own those who express intentions of unease and trust in God because of diseases and dangers of all kinds, such as the one who prays: “Help comes to me from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” (Salt 122).
The confidence that springs from the faith made alive helps us to take away from our minds and hearts fear, as the Psalm tells us: “Even if I go down a dark path, I will not be afraid, for the Lord goes with me” (Psalm 23:4). However, these certainties do not exempt us from the responsibility of complying with the guidelines and regulations that come from the competent authorities. For this reason we consider it appropriate to decree:
With deep pain and exceptionally, from the publication of this Message, the suspension of all public celebrations in the Catholic temples and communities of Cuba, until the epidemiological situation allows the normalization of the life of the country. We thus adhere, too, to the indications of the Holy See for the circumstances that the world is experiencing.
Priests will hold in private, at times known to the faithful, the liturgy corresponding to each day. At that moment the bells will be touched to invite you to join spiritually from the houses.
Keep temples open as long as possible, as permitted by the required sanitary conditions.
Training Centers, Diocesan and Parish Libraries, Nursery, Catechesis of Children and Adults recess their activities until their reopening is determined.
Phones: (53) 78326200. Fax: (53) 78326100
CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS OF CUBA
20th Street No.160 e/13 and 15. Vedado. C.P.10400. Havana. Cuba
Postal Box 635
In order for the believing people to have the opportunity to participate in the mysteries of Christ, we have asked the authorities of the country, given the situation that is faced, each Bishop may transmit a radio message in the four central days of Holy Week: Palm Sunday. Thursdays and Fridays Saints and Resurrection Sundays, as well as on successive Sundays while public celebrations are suspended. Likewise, to feel united to the Universal Church, we have presented the wish that, during Holy Week, the celebrations presided over by Pope Francis or, also, by Cardinal Juan de la C. García Rodriguez, Archbishop of Havana, will be broadcast on television.
At the end of this Message we exhort you in the same words of Jesus: “Do not be uneasy, believe in God, and also believe in Me” (Jn. 14:1). At times like these we remember the wise teaching of our elders who, in situations of difficulty, encouraged us by telling ourselves, “whenever it rains, it camps.” Now we are through the moment of the storm… let us help ourselves to be sowers of hope and trust in our Father God!
We are close to the affection of Our Lady of Charity, our Mother and Patron, whom we invoke with this ancient prayer:
Under your protection we welcome ourselves, Holy Mother of God, do not give up the supplications we address to you in our needs, rather, always deliver us from all danger O glorious and blessed Virgin!
This Message we wanted to present it at the feet of Our Lady, celebrating Mass today in her Sanctuary of El Cobre, where we have prayed for our people, imploring for all health, serenity and Christian solidarity, while imparting our paternal blessing to them.
March 24, 2020.
Eve of the Solemnity of the Lord’s Annunciation.
THE CATHOLIC BISHOPS OF CUBA