The Leonor Pérez Committee of Mothers for the Release of Political Prisoners, a group of women that visit Catholic parishes asking for prayers for political prisoners, has extended its appeal from the Church of St. Rita in Miramar to other parishes in the Cuban capital.
“This way,” says Noris Durán Durán, the Committee’s Vice President, “a greater number of citizens will be aware of the plight of Cuban prisoners of conscience. We are informing parishioners, and they join us in prayer to God for the health, the lives, and the freedom of political prisoners, and for the well-being of other inmates.”
Durán, who is the mother of former prisoner of conscience Lázaro Constantín Durán, said she prepares a list each month of the visits that will be made on Sundays to different parishes.
The Vice President of the Committee said the prayer appeals began on September 28 in the Church of Corpus Christi near the government-owned Palacio de Convenciones, continuing on October 5 at the Church of St. Thomas. On October 12 the appeal will take place at the Church of St. Jude, in Old Havana.
“We’re not discontinuing our pilgrimage and active presence on Sundays at St. Rita’s, where we began our respectful and peaceful appeal for prayers and where we will continue to meet the last Sunday of each month, but we want to bring our message to the entire Cuban capital,” said Durán.
At the same time, she emphasized, “Our demands are not only for the 75 prisoners of conscience from the latest wave of oppression—although we stress that they are treated more harshly than others because of the long sentences and poor conditions in which they are held—but for all prisoners as well. We have been very warmly received by pastors, parishioners, and people in general, all of whom have shown us sympathy and support.”
According to Caridad Peña, President of the Committee, who has two sons currently being held as political prisoners, “We don’t go into the parishes screaming and causing scandal, we don’t upset people, nor do we interfere with the celebration of Holy Mass. Our respectful presence, our manner of dressing in black and white, and the public awareness of our message is of great moral encouragement for political prisoners. As people get to know our mission, more and more of them join us and share our concern for this just cause.