In an advent message, Cuba's bishops invited locals to detach themselves “of everything that keeps the Child Jesus from finding a welcome in our hearts.”
“Let us allow the Hope that awakens the mystery of the Incarnation in every person of faith fill us until we are satiated,” said Archbishop Dionisio Garcia Ibanez, president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Cuba.
In his Dec. 10 message, Archbishop Garcia also expressed gratitude for the Marian Jubilee Year marking the 400th anniversary of the devotion to Our Lady of Charity, the patroness of Cuba.
The archbishop said that the Church was richly blessed during the entire experience by the outpouring of faith, devotion and love to Our Lady of Charity by the faithful.
“Our expectations and possibilities” were surpassed by far, he said.
Archbishop Garcia also highlighted the pilgrimage of the statue of Our Lady of Charity throughout Cuba, as well as the visit by Pope Benedict XVI, as key events in Jubilee Year.
“God has truly been good to us and we are joyful!” he said.
The archbishop encouraged Cubans to keep their evangelical fervor alive, as “we all know how much we need to promote reconciliation with God, in our families, among all Cubans and with the environment.”
He also expressed gratitude for the solidarity that has been shown to the people of Santiago in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, which devastated the eastern part of the island.
“I also wish to thank you on behalf of the thousands of families affected who have received from the Christian community encouragement, company and in innumerable cases, a small but very appreciated amount of aid,” he said.
Archbishop Garcia invited Cubans to participate in the closing Mass of the Marian Jubilee Year, which will take place on Jan. 5, 2013, at the Shrine of Our Lady of Charity in Santiago.
“Those who cannot physically make the pilgrimage to the Shrine of our Mother at El Cobre will also be united in prayer asking God for his blessing for all Cuban families,” he said.