Cuban bishops’ Christmas message: Challenges, exodus, call to faith in adversity

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The Cuban bishops have issued their 2023 Christmas message, noting that “a very difficult year” is ending for the island due to the dramatic situation in terms of food, health, and services in general.

The prelates lamented that every day more people decide to leave the country — “children, young people, entire families, workers, and professionals” — which brings with it more suffering due to material deprivation, the pain of separation, and the helplessness that has left many elderly people lonely.

The bishops pointed out that salaries are not enough for adequate nutrition or for any other necessities that people need to have a decent life.

“In the hearts and faces of so many of our brothers and sisters there is confusion, sadness, and hopelessness. The economy hasn’t taken off as expected,” and the possibility of society benefiting from legitimate diverse opinions and thoughts (in a totalitarian country) “is not sufficiently recognized and valued,” they said.

‘You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing; they rejoice before you’ (Is 9:2)

The Cuban shepherds recalled the words of the prophet Isaiah and prayed that God might grant “joy, peace, tranquility, and hope” to the Cuban people. They also called on the faithful to build together real possibilities so that citizens can develop their full potential in their own country.

That joy of which the prophet speaks, the bishops wrote, originates in the birth of the Child Jesus. “Jesus Christ is that child to whom the prophet was referring. And at Christmas we remember and celebrate how much God loves us, how much man is important to a God who has become man. We are never alone! God walks with us!” they stressed.

The Cuban bishops invited the faithful “to celebrate Christmas as a family and in the Christian community,” overcoming limitations and obstacles, to respond to the call of the Lord, who invites them to delve into the depth of the mystery of his Incarnation. 

“May it be a good time to share at home, to visit the sick and those who are alone, to pray more, to read and meditate on the Bible,” they encouraged.

The pastors of the Cuban faithful pointed out that the celebration of Christmas should impel believers to be better, to seek God and open their hearts to welcome Jesus Christ, and to take up again or renew the path of faith.

“Because only by living our lives in consistency with the faith will we receive the salvation and eternal life that the Child God offers us. Merry Christmas! God bless our families and all Cubans. God bless Cuba!” they concluded.

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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