.- A tower, a bell, a cross and a statue of John Paul II make up the new monument dedicated to the late Pontiff who visited Cuba a decade ago and that will be inaugurated on February 23 by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican Secretary of State.
The monument, which will be erected in the city of Santa Clara, where the Pope celebrated his first Mass on Cuban soil, is the first one ever on public lands, that is, on land that is not the property of the Church.
The project was developed by the construction office of the Diocese of Santa Clara and was designed by architect Luis Orlando Fernandez Squitin. Flanked by the flags of Cuba and the Holy See, it consists of a tower with a bell, crowned by a cross, with a statue of John Paul II in front. Behind the tower is a 13 panel mural with an image of Our Lady of Charity with her mantle extended as a sign of protection. On one of the panels is John Paul II’s phrase: “Be not afraid, open the doors to Christ.”
Speaking to the SIR news agency, Bishop Jose Felix Perez, executive secretary of the Cuban bishops, said that during the ten years since the papal visit, “some things have changed for Catholics.” “The pastoral dynamism of the Church has changed positively, as well as the missionary spirit, but there is a lack of access to the media and a wider social action of the Church,” he said.
During the last decade, he added, “the number of Catholic communities has grown and the quality of the faith has improved.”