.- Delegates from all over Cuba met in Havana last week to celebrate the I National Assembly of Missions, an historical gathering that concluded with a commitment to “make mission work the central focus of pastoral life” in Cuba. The meeting, which took place on May 25-28, gathered together 141 representatives, including priests, religious, deacons and laity, from the eleven dioceses of Cuba.
Participants compiled a list of priorities that they said should be central to the work of evangelization in Cuba, such as making mission work the focus of pastoral life, cultivating a missionary spirituality among the members of the Church, and prioritizing an integral missionary formation.
According to Father Raul Rodriguez Dago, national director of the Pontifical Missionary Works, “the presence of 23 seminarians who are at different stages in their theological studies at the Seminary of St. Charles and St. Ambrose, was cause for joy and hope at the meeting, as they will be the pastors of the future.”
During a Mass that was part of the gathering, Archbishop Luiggi Bonazzi, Apostolic Nuncio to Cuba, called on participants “to work to keep the doors open to Christ,” and he noted that “in our day to day relationships, when we encounter situations in our social, cultural and economic life that might keep Christ from reaching our brothers and sisters, we cannot remain indifferent.”
He also read a greeting from Pope Benedict XVI in which the Holy Father asked that “the work of this gathering provide a new impulse for the untiring missionary action in the country in response to the problems of today’s society, giving thanks to God for the past and the present of the life of that beloved Church in Cuba.”