Bishops in Christmas message recall the 25th anniversaries of Christmas as a public holiday and John Paul II's visit; call on Catholics "to take on the mission that Jesus entrusted us with true enthusiasm"
Cuba's President Fidel Castro shakes hands with John Paul II, when the pope visited Havana, January 21, 1998. (Photo by Yonhap News Agency/ MAXPPP)
Bishops in Cuba are highlighting two events – the 25th anniversaries of the declaration of Christmas as a public holiday and of John Paul II's visit – to ensure that Catholics celebrate this Christmas with hope, enthusiasm, truth and forgiveness.
"Christmas is always a new event because our personal, ecclesial and social situation is changing and, therefore, from this new perspective, we welcome the Child Jesus, who comes to share our lives, walk with us and teach us to live as brothers. This time, it will be 25 years since the Cuban authorities declared Christmas as a public holiday, which allows people to share this holiday with their families and participate in the celebrations in their respective communities", wrote the bishops in their message in preparation for Christmas 2022.
The bishops pointed out that John Paul II's visit was "an event that marked history and was a blessing for our people," which occurred right after Christmas, in January. Beginning on January 24, festivities will be held in every diocese to mark this "unforgettable visit" and "to present the teachings transmitted by the late pope during the four eucharistic celebrations and other meetings presided over by him," the bishops said. John Paul II visited Cuba from January 21 to 26, 1998, becoming the first pope to visit the country.