Despite growing material needs, the Cuban Bishops Conference has reported that the Church in Cuba will redouble its various social programs that give assistance to over 19,000 people monthly.
The services are coordinated through the 600 parishes which in one month have recruited more than 4000 volunteers to assist and visit the elderly, shut-ins, Down’s Syndrome sufferers and single mothers. According to Rita Petrirena of the Pastoral Coordination Office of the Bishops Conference, pastoral services include ministries for the infirm, prison ministry, justice and peace, and Catholic Charities.
“Catholic Charities in Cuba has a membership of more than 15,000 volunteers, with many more during emergencies,” said Catholic Charities director Maritza Sanchez.
The institution, she added, relies on volunteers who are not necessarily professionals in social work, but rather who have had a broad formation in the social teachings of the Church and are capable of designing projects and helping in areas such as care for the elderly, the handicapped, emergencies and rehabilitation.”
Catholic Charities in Cuba receives funding from the European Union, specifically for ministry to the elderly, as well as from Catholic Relief Services in the US and Catholic Charities offices in European countries, such as Germany, Sweden and Switzerland.