The personal intervention of Pope Benedict XVI could see communist Cuba welcome a major Bible exhibition next year.
“Discussion occurred about a year ago to take the exhibition Verbum Domini in a different form to Cuba,” said exhibition organizer Cary Summers told EWTN News April 19.
“The discussion actually reached to the Pope and he made an announcement when he was there about three weeks ago at a luncheon with the bishops that it was his hope that Verbum Domini would come to Cuba.”
If successful the Bible exhibition would be the latest sign of increasing religious freedom in Cuba following on from the Pope’s visit to the Caribbean island in March and subsequent declaration of a national holiday to mark this year’s Good Friday.
“This would not have happened without Pope Benedict, no, it would not have happened,” said Summers.
The exhibition is a joint creation between the Vatican, the American Bible Society and the Green Collection, a private collection based in the US which has over 40,000 biblical antiquities.
From March 1 to April 15 Verbum Domini – Latin for “Word of God” – drew in thousands of visitors to the Braccio di Carlo Magno Museum adjacent to St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The exhibit featured over 150 manuscripts and artifacts from the Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant and Jewish traditions.
“We are now going to go down to Cuba in July,” explained Summers. “The concept that we have in mind is but it would go to Cuba for multi-days but in three different cities. So it would stay maybe one week in each city with a series of lectures also attached to it.”
He believed the Cuban authorities are open to the idea after having been “quite surprised” by the “tremendous outpouring” of faith which last month’s Papal visit generated. He said he is now depending on divine providence to help take the Bible exhibition to the heart of communist Cuba.
“Only God can do that one and that is who we are trusting, at least that is how it appears to be. We believe it will happen.”