.- Thousands of Cubans in Miami gathered for a Mass on the feast of Our Lady of Charity, the patroness of Cuba, and to participate in the jubilee year decreed by the bishops of Cuba to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the devotion.
According to the newspaper El Nuevo Herald, thousands gathered at the Bank United Center at the University of Miami where they were challenged during Mass to ârenew their faith, hope and spiritual commitment.â
On Monday afternoon, hundreds walked in procession with the statue of Our Lady of Charity which is venerated at the shrine dedicated in her honor in Coconut Grove.
âThis jubilee year has been a time of renewal in order to bring the message of salvation to the members of our family, our friends and all those in our communities,â said Archbishop John C. Favalora of Miami.
Bishop Thomas Wenski of Orlando recalled that Our Lady of Charity âis a gift from God to the Cuban people who are suffering so much from hurricanes right now and from previous storms.â
The original statue of Our Lady of Charity was found in 1612 by three fishermenâa black slave and two Indiansâduring a storm in Nipe Bay. After finding it they took it to the town of El Cobre.
In 1916 Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre was declared Patroness of Cuba by Pope Benedict XV and on February 24, 1998, Pope John Paul II crowned her Mother of the Reconciliation of Cuba.