Pinar del Rio, Cuba, May 18, 2017 / 15:30 pm
Funded by a parish in Florida, a new Catholic church is being built in Cuba and is the first the island nation has seen in 60 years.
Father Ramon Hernandez, pastor of St. Lawrence church in Tampa, said he and his parishioners are happy to see how their funds have financed the project, and said he looks forward to the inauguration Mass taking place early next year.
Saint Lawrence provided $95,000 in donations for the church's construction in Sandino, Cuba, located in the western corner of the country.
The new church, alongside a refurbished synagogue in Havana, shows Cuba's progress in religious freedom since Fidel Castro ushered in communism during his revolution in the 1960s. Atheism was established as the belief system for the entire state, and many religious leaders were faced with persecution. In 1992, however, Cuba was made a secular state.