The Mass of exequias to dismiss the dear Cardinal Jaime Ortega, was celebrated today in the Holy Metropolitan Cathedral Church of Havana with the participation of Cuban bishops, priests, parishioners, religious and relatives of the deceased prelated.
Guests included Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston and Archbishop Thomas Wenski and Roberto González Nieves, Archbishops of Miami and San Juan Puerto Rico, respectively.
The Archbishop of Havana, Archbishop Juan de la Caridad García, presided over the celebration in which he highlighted the religious and human trajectory of the cardinal, which he identified as “pontiff”, a word of Latin origin meaning “bridge-making”.
In his homily he highlighted that the also archbishop emeritus of Havana, was a dialogue man, who liked to build paths to bring men closer together. While highlighting his pastoral work, he invited the baptized, confirmed and ordained by the cardinal to imitate their closeness and concern for the sick, prisoners and others excluded from society.
The ceremony was attended by Cuban government and state authorities, including Cuba’s first vice president, Salvador Valdés; president of the National Assembly of Popular Power, Esteban Lazo, and Vice President Roberto Morales. The Secretary of the Council of State, Homer Acosta, was also present; the Head of the Office of Religious Affairs of the Central Committee of the PCC, Caridad Diego and the director of the National Library, Dr. Eduardo Torres Cuevas.
During the celebration, the business manager of the Apostolic Nunciature in Cuba, Archbishop Jean Monsignor Jean Francois Simonart, read the message of condolences for the death of the Cardinal sent by Pope Francis to Archbishop Juan de la Caridad García.
Cardinal Jaime Ortega, clad in his ecclesiastical attire, was veiled in Havana Cathedral for three days. After the Mass of exequias, the coffin was led to the Pantheon of Bishops, in the Necropolis of Columbus.