Post-Castro Church

Pope John Paul II greets Cuban President Fidel Castro at the Palace of the Revolution prior to their private meeting in Havana Jan. 22, 1998. Castro, who seized power in a 1959 revolution and governed Cuba until 2006, died Nov. 25 at the age of 90. (CNS photo/Paul Hanna, Reuters)

Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami was one of the first Catholic Church officials to respond on Nov. 26 after the death of Fidel Castro. “The death of this figure should lead us to invoke the patroness of Cuba, the Virgin of Charity, calling for peace for Cuba and its people,” he said in a statement. Later that day at Ermita de la Caridad, a Miami shrine that honors Cuba’s patron, Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre, he said, “The Cuban people are a noble people but also a people who suffer.” Referring to recent moments in the history of the island, when Catholics hid their faith fearing persecution by a government and a society that looked down on religion, he said the Virgin was present in the prayer cards people hid in their dressers and present with those inside and outside Cuba who “fight for respect for human dignity and to establish a future of freedom, justice and peace.”

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