May 12, 2004 / 22:00 pm
Despite the difficult political and economic situation in Cuba, the Catholic Church in the Caribbean country shows “quite positive tendencies,” said Bishop Emilio Aranguren Echeverria of the Diocese of Cienfuegos.
“More and more children are being baptized, the sacrament of anointing of the sick is being increasingly administered and funeral masses are celebrated more frequently,” said the secretary general of the Cuban Episcopal Conference.
There is also an ever-growing interest in vocations among youth, the prelate explained during his most recent visit to the German head office of the international charity, Aid to the Church in Need. “For this reason, the biggest challenge for the Church is comprehensive formation of priests, religious and laity,” he added.
The bishop also pointed to the “growing poverty” in the island nation. According to the bishop, only 10 percent of the population are able to “make a good living,” 40 percent can “pull through,” 30 percent are needy and 20 percent live in extreme poverty.