Cuban young people prepare to attend WYD 2005

.- Bishop Carlos Baladrón of Guantanamo-Barcoa, Cuba, announced last week that 34 young people from Cuba representing all of the dioceses of the country are preparing to travel to Cologne in August to participate in World Youth Day.

Visiting the international headquarters of Aid to the Church in Need, Bishop Baladrón stated that “there has always been real participation on the part of Cuba” in events like World Youth Day.

This year, 34 Cubans, at least 2 young people from each of the country’s 11 dioceses, and 4 bishops, will attend the event.  “Our young people desire to open themselves to Christ,” the bishop maintained.

According to the bishop, the formation of young lay leaders is a priority for the Church and he pointed out that “today, many people are rediscovering their Catholic roots” and that there is a “high level of participation by the youth in the life of the Church.”

Bishop Baladrón recalled the impact of the Pope’s visit to Cuba in 1998, which helped Catholics in Cuba “to be witnesses of the faith in their daily lives, at work, at the university, in the family.”

Referring to social problems such as the breakdown of the family, abortion and prostitution, the bishop said that those problems in Cuba can only be addressed through “the transformation of hearts.”

Bishop Baladrón thanked Aid to the Church in Need and its benefactors for the help it has provided the Church in Cuba, and he asked that assistance for the “difficult, but hopeful work of the Church” in his country be continued.

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