On the afternoon of this Tuesday, October 30, Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela visited the Archbishopric of Havana and exchanged with pilgrims who make up the Cuban delegation to World Youth Day (WYD) Panama 2019.
From noon, young Catholics gathered at the archbishop’s headquarters in Havana to receive the representative who from Monday afternoon makes an official visit to the island. His agenda has included talks with Cuban President Miguel Díaz Canel, visits to institutions of scientific and economic interest, as well as a meeting with Panamanian and Cuban entrepreneurs.
Monsignor Juan de la Caridad García, Archbishop of Havana, received His Excellency Mr. Juan Carlos Varela, who, among the songs and ovations of young people, persigned himself to the image of our Lady of Charity of Copper.
Next, the Panamanian president and part of the delegation that accompanies him, held a private meeting with the Archbishop of Havana and his auxiliary bishop, Msgr. Juan de Dios Hernández.
In the central courtyard of the archbishop’s building, the young people present, representing the Cuban delegation to WYD, cheered the representative with the singing of the hymn that will preside over this Catholic world event.
Mr. Varela, visibly excited, listened attentively to the words of the greatest leader of the Habanera Church, who placed under the protection of St Mary the Ancient, patron saint of the Isthmaan nation, the peoples of Panama and Cuba, their families and their Church.
For his part, Father Jorge Luis Pérez, advisor of the Youth Pastoral in Havana and also a member of the Cuban delegation to WYD thanked the Panamanian government for the efforts of the Panamanian government to facilitate visa procedures for young Cubans. In this sense, he told President Juan Carlos Varela: “His homeland, by natural vocation and design of Divine Providence, is a bridge linking continents and people. You and your governance have been faithful to this inspiration and our Cuban Homeland and our Church we have much to thank.”
As a sign of gratitude and on behalf of the Church in Cuba, the young Rachel Susana asked the representative to accept as a gift the image of Mary of Charity of Copper – patron saint of the Cuban people – who has accompanied the missionary work of young people in recent times.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the President of Panama, Mr. Juan Carlos Varela, said that it is a blessing for his country to host World Youth Day, for “it is a unique experience that adds to the universality of the Church, the energy of youth,” he concluded.