Vatican City, Nov 15 (Prensa Latina) Pope Francis sent a warm message to Havana residents on the eve of the 500th anniversary of the founding of their city.
In the video message, the pontiff said he was happy to join his ‘dear brothers and sisters of Havana’ in the celebrations and said that in the past five centuries, ‘many lives given for others, many dreams, efforts, shared sacrifices have been intertwined to build the present and future of the children of Cuba.’
In that sense, he referred to faith, charity and hope, three historical aspects that, in his opinion, were present from the foundational beginnings of the city, and still remain pillars today.
After indicating that faith is in the roots of the city, Pope Francis urged the inhabitants of the Cuban capital not to ‘forget those roots, the witness of faith of your ancestors,’ and recalled that the founding act of Havana was the celebration of Holy Mass.
He also said that charity is another aspect that distinguishes the Cuban people, who learned from Mary, the Mother of Jesus, who from the beginning was present here in the invocation of the Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre.
‘The charity that Mary teaches us is to give love, and to give it with tenderness, with dedication, and to give love in daily life,’ he added.
‘And finally, another pillar is hope,’ said the pope, who added that ‘Just as St. Cristobal [Christopher] charged and carried his brothers and sisters on his shoulders, so also among yourselves, I ask you to support, help, encourage and move forward without losing heart, always with a look toward the goal.’
Francis underlined there will always be difficulties, but that unity of a people, united in charity, in the hope of moving forward, helps them grow strong.
‘I ask the Lord that these pillars of faith and charity and hope that sustain you, as well as the joy that characterizes you, are renewed and increased in this jubilant time,’ he said.
‘May Jesus bless you, bless all the Cuban people, who I warmly recall from when I visited them: What a great people! And may the Virgin, Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre, take care of you. And please, don’t forget to pray for me. Thank you very much,’ he concluded.