.- For the first time in 46 years, the communist Cuban government has permitted Catholic bishops in that country to address Catholic faithful over the radio.
According to the German organization, Aid to the Church in Need, Bishop Emilio Aranguren, head of the Diocese of Holguin, and Bishop Dionisio Garcia Ibanez, head of the Diocese of Bayamo-Manzanillo addressed their respective dioceses with messages for the beginning of Holy Week.
The group said that when Bishop Aranguren informed faithful at the end of the Chrism Mass on Saturday, April 8th of the historic event, those in attendance erupted in a storm of applause and a standing ovation.
ACN quoted the Bishop as saying, “When I visit the sick in their homes, I realize the large majority of them pick up foreign radio stations in order to hear religious messages because they need it for the faith they have and in order to face the needs that they have in their daily life.”
“For this reason”, he said, “I have asked the authorities to let me address the sick in order to encourage them to celebrate the great events in the life of Jesus Christ: His Passion, Death and Resurrection. God willing, may I do that every week.”
During his 12-minute radio speech, broadcast on Palm Sunday, the bishop specifically addressed the elderly, saying: “I want to bring you a message of consolation, of strength, of hope. I know that you need this just like all of us. When you hold a Crucifix in your hands or look at Jesus Christ on the cross, I invite you to renew your trust in Him.”
“You will find”, he stressed, “a new disposition, a spiritual aptitude to continue to carry your cross with confidence, bravery, dignity and hope.”