In his Christmas message read in parishes yesterday, Cardinal Jaime Ortega Alamino of Havana, Cuba, exhorted Cuban families to cultivate joy and love despite economic hardships and the absence of love ones because of emigration, imprisonment or death.
“I am not talking about a worldly joy, a boisterous and exterior joy that can be offensive to someone who is feeling pain or sadness, but rather a profound joy of the heart that comes from the action of the Holy Spirit in us,” the Cardinal said.
He added that “there are families that have lost a loved one recently, and families with relatives in prison,” and therefore “we must extend the love of family to those we do not know and even those who are forgotten.”
“The Christian family, parents and children should resolve to strive firmly to capture joy. In so doing we are not betraying our loved ones who are absent or missing, terminally or temporarily ill, or suffering from loneliness,” he added.
Cardinal Ortega announced the Cuban bishops have decided to make 2004 the year of the family, since the family is “the place where life, God’s most precious gift to man, springs forth and develops.”