.- Dozens of priests and religious of the “Cuban diaspora” in the world concluded their XXXI Encounter in Key West with a document expressing their joy for the election of Pope Benedict XVI and their support for the Church in Cuba. “In response to the challenge represented by the culture of death, which brings with it the loss of Christian values in ethics and the sacredness of life, in the respect for the body, and the relativization of sex, and the moral disintegration of marriage and the family, we as pastors emphasize the authentic meaning of our relationships of love, in their different expressions which, as a reflection of the love of God, must be free, total, faithful and fruitful,” the statement reads.
Participants in the gathering also noted that as a nine-year novena begins in preparation for the 400th anniversary of the apparition of Our Lady of Charity, “We remember the petition made in 1915 by our co-patriots, veterans of the battle for Independence, to Pope Benedict XV to declare her patroness of Cuba.”
“We rejoice with the entire Church,” continues the statement, “at the election to the Chair of Peter of His Holiness Benedict XVI, to whom we promise our filial adherence. At the same time, we rejoice at the ordination to the episcopate of three of our Cuban brother priests.”
“May the example of priestly commitment of these brothers, as well as that of all Cuban priests, inspire many young people to respond generously to the call of the Lord to work in His vineyard,” the text states.
Lastly, the priests and religious express solidarity with “the missionary and evangelistic effort which the Church in Cuba is carrying out, and we implore the blessings of our Holy Patroness, Mary of Charity, upon their sacrificial and generous labor.”
“We pray for vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life and for the entire Cuban people who, although divided by time and geography, continue to be one in the love of God, of the Virgin and of country,” the document concludes.