.- Pope Benedict XVI will place a golden rose before the statue of Our Lady of Charity, the patroness of Cuba, during his March 26-28 visit to the country.
Cuban officials also said it was “foreseeable” that the Pope would meet with 86-year-old Fidel Castro, reported the Efe News Agency.
Cuba’s current president, Raul Castro, may attend the papal Mass, as Fidel did in 1998 during Blessed John Paul II’s visit.
Meanwhile, on Jan. 25, the Spanish government honored Cardinal Jaime Ortega Alamino of Havana with the Order of the Great Cross of Isabel the Catholic.
The ceremony took place at the residence of the Spanish ambassador to Cuba, Manuel Cacho.
Ambassador Cacho praised Cardinal Ortega for “his efforts and dedication” to the Cuban people, while Cardinal Ortega praised the legacy of the Catholic Queen Isabel of Spain.