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Pope reports on trip to Mexico, Cuba

Catholic World News - April 04, 2012

At his weekly public audience on April 4, Pope Benedict XVI devoted most of his time to a recollection of his trip to Mexico and Cuba, before ending with some thoughts on Holy Week and the Easter Triduum.

During his visits to the two Latin American countries, the Pope said, “I sought to embrace the entire continent.”

At his first stop, in Mexico, the Pope said that he was stuck by “the extraordinary, festive and vivacious welcome" of Mexicans.” He remarked that this attitude is a sign of a lively faith. “The Lord's disciples must seek to augment the joy of being Christian and the joy of belonging to the Church,” he said. “Such joy foments the energies necessary to serve Christ in situations of difficulty and suffering.”

Moving on to Cuba, the Pope acknowledged the restrictions on the work of the church there, saying that he wanted to “support the mission of the Catholic Church, which is committed to the joyful announcement of the Gospel, notwithstanding limited means and despite the difficulties which still have to be overcome before religion can offer its spiritual and educational services in the public arena.” But in Cuba, too, he saw clear signs of enthusiasm especially among the thousands who joined him in paying homage to Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre. Their piety, he said, was a “sign of a Church which is emerging from a difficult situation.”

Speaking at greater length on the situation in Cuba, the Pope said: “I reminded everyone that Cuba and the world need change. This will only come about if everyone opens to the integral truth about man (an indispensable premise in order to achieve freedom) and decides to spread reconciliation and fraternity.” He reported that some progress had been made in the field of religious freedom, and thanked the country’s leaders for their cooperation while saying that still more progress is needed.

As he concluded his audience, the Holy Father turned his attention to the Easter Triduum that would begin the next day. He encouraged the faithful to participate actively in the liturgies that culminate the liturgical year. “Let us allow ourselves to be transformed, so that the resurrection can truly be achieved in each one of us,” he said.

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