Cuban archbishop makes emotional plea to Virgin Mary for electricity, food, and freedom 

Archbishop Dionisio Guillermo García Archbishop Dionisio Guillermo García of Santiago de Cuba prays before an image of Mary in the Basilica National Sanctuary of Our Lady of Charity on March 24, 2024. | Credit: Archbishopric of Santiago de Cuba

The archbishop of Santiago de Cuba, Dionisio Guillermo García, offered a lengthy prayer before the nation’s patroness, the Virgin of Charity of Cobre, on Palm Sunday, imploring the Virgin for the needs of the people, hoping that they find freedom and the light of faith amid adversity. 

“Our people have said and repeat what we all know: electricity and food. Is that unattainable? Is that asking too much? No no no. Our people also ask for freedom, so that everyone can reach their goals in life and ensure that their children benefit the most.”  

In an atmosphere of silence, the archbishop offered his prayer in the emblematic National Shrine of Our Lady of Charity of Cobre Basilica.

This took place a week after crowds in several cities in Cuba took to the streets to demand a change in the system, due to the continuous power outages and food shortages on the island, where people have been living under a dictatorship for more than 60 years.

Continuing his prayer, García referred to the role of the Virgin Mary as the mediator of the supplications and longings of the Cuban people: “I want to ask you what the pilgrims come before you to pray for... We want to live with less pressing needs, we want to try to live a normal life in which everyone can make their plan and life project.”

“We want to use the hours of our time in reading and in service, but many times we use them in the daily struggle to obtain the essentials of life, which are almost always in short supply. The nights become long, without power. We ask, Lord, that you give us inner power,” he continued.

García also addressed the need to eradicate violence in the streets and to promote mutual respect among citizens: “We ask you, Mother, that we all be one and that we Cubans respect one another... In the same way that we are beginning Holy Week, let us accompany the sacrifice of Jesus."

“I ask you that we have the hope of that people who were awaiting the Messiah. We know that one day the light will come to our people, the inner light. I ask you that we may realize that if we do not do the will of God, which is to do good, we will fail in life,” he prayed.

“We also ask you, Father, that one day we will see the light, the light [to resolve] these problems. But also that we all find the light of faith, which is what leads us precisely to give an account of everything that exists, of what we experience,” he added.

The archbishop ended his petitions with a Hail Mary for peace and unity: “Let us pray for the Cuban people and for the faith of the Cuban people... Let us pray.”

“Our Lady of Charity, pray for us. Our Lady of Charity, pray for us. With your protection we take refuge, Holy Mother of God, do not reject the supplications that we address to you in our necessities, but rather, deliver us from all dangers, O glorious and blessed Virgin. Amen,” García 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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