The Cuban bishops have issued a prayer to help prepare for Pope Francis' Sept. 19-22 visit to their island nation, focused on the visit's theme, "Missionary of Mercy."

Its recitation will be part of the novena following the feast of Our Lady of Charity of Cobre, the island's patroness, which was celebrated Sept. 8.

The prayer is as follows:

Oh God, the good Father, and rich in mercy:
through the intercession of the Virgin of Charity,
Mother of your Son and our Mother,
turn your loving gaze
and pour out your grace
upon your servant Pope Francis,
whom you have made pastor of the universal Church

Grant that his words and witness of love
be received into the hearts of the Cuban people
whom he is coming to visit
as a Missionary of Mercy.

We ask this of you who live and reign with Jesus Christ, your Son,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen.