Archbishop prays that the day will come when no Cuban will have to leave his country

Cuba migrants Members of the Cuban Coast Guard hand out life jackets to migrants on a drifting boat in Havana on Dec. 12, 2022. | Photo by YAMIL LAGE/AFP via Getty Images

The archbishop of Santiago de Cuba, Dionisio García, asked the faithful to pray to Christ so that the time would come when no Cuban has to leave his homeland, since migration has separated many families.

The prelate made this request Sunday at the Basilica of Our Lady of Charity of Cobre, a Marian shrine where the original image of the patroness of Cuba is kept.

“Let us pray for our people, for families that have been separated, especially for work reasons, but mainly for immigration, because of which so many families have been separated,” García said at the beginning of the Sunday Mass.

The archbishop prayed “that the time would come when Cubans don’t have to, don’t want to leave their homeland. So that we Cubans can recognize ourselves as brothers wherever we are.”

When celebrating the Eucharist on the last Sunday of Advent, García asked the faithful to pray to the Lord so that with the coming of Christmas, Cuba “would know that mystery of love that is God, who becomes man for our salvation.”

“May we all remember the feast of Christmas. And may we remember it as a celebration of hope and joy” and of the family, since Christ “was born in a family formed by Joseph, by Mary, and by the Son, the child Jesus,” he said.

In late November, in its letter for the beginning of Advent, the Cuban Conference of Catholic Bishops also referred to the phenomenon of migration.

“We want express greetings to the families, who suffer from emigration and need in a special way, that the light that Jesus lit when he was born poor and humble in Bethlehem may shine warmly, showing them his close, supportive presence, which consoles and comforts, which gives us the certainty that in Jesus all paths come together and all distances are shortened,” the bishops’ conference said.

The United States continues to be the main destination for thousands of Cubans seeking to migrate. Many of them are using precarious rafts, with the risks these entail.

According to official U.S. figures, in fiscal year 2022 — from Oct. 1, 2021, to Sept. 30, 2022 — 224,607 Cubans arrived, with an average of 615 per day.

In addition, this past October, part of fiscal year 2023, 29,872 Cubans entered irregularly, approximately 963 people per day.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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