Havana (AsiaNews) - " Please, we do not have the right to allow ourselves yet another failure on this path of peace and reconciliation": this was Francis’ plea addressed the faithful present at Mass and to President Raul Castro, who attended the celebration, whom the Pope also thanked "for all you do for this reconciliation."
The Pope words the introduced the Angelus at the conclusion of the Eucharist in the Plaza de la Revolucion. They refered to the process of reconciliation that has started between Cuba and the United States, of which the pope and the Vatican were among the mediators.
But the appeal was also and above all an appeal to the path of peace and reconciliation in Colombia, for decades stifled by a struggle between the government and militants belonging to several guerrilla groups, which is undergoing a new attempt at dialogue.
" At this time - said Francis- I feel bound to direct my thoughts to the beloved land of Colombia, “conscious of the crucial importance of the present moment when, with renewed effort and inspired by hope, its sons and daughters are seeking to build a peaceful society”. May the blood shed by thousands of innocent people during long decades of armed conflict, united to that of the Lord Jesus Christ crucified, sustain all the efforts being made, including those on this beautiful island, to achieve definitive reconciliation. Thus may the long night of pain and violence can, with the support of all Colombians, become an unending day of concord, justice, fraternity and love, in respect for institutions and for national and international law, so that there may be lasting peace. Please, we do not have the right to allow ourselves yet another failure on this path of peace and reconciliation".
The issue of reconciliation was also addressed by Card. Jaime Ortega y Alamino, archbishop of Havana thanking Pope Francis for his visit. He said the call for peace and reconciliation between Cuba and the United States is not only "between two states, but also among Cubans here and in the United States or outside of Cuba. Only love and forgiveness will be the right instrument for the good of the Cuban people".
After their embrace, the Pope gave the Cardinal a chalice.
Before introducing the Marian prayer, Francis had urged the faithful to turn their gaze "to the Virgin, our Mother. And we ask her to teach us to stay close to the cross of suffering brothers. That we learn to see Jesus in every man weary of life on the road; in every hungry or thirsty brother, those who are naked or sick or in prison. "
"I invite you - has added in conclusion - to join with me in praying to Mary, that we may place all our concerns and hopes before the heart of Christ. We pray to her in a special way for those who have lost hope and find no reasons to keep fighting, and for those who suffer from injustice, abandonment and loneliness. We pray for the elderly, the infirm, children and young people, for all families experiencing difficulty, that Mary may dry their tears, comfort them with a mother’s love, and restore their hope and joy. Holy Mother, I commend to you these your sons and daughters in Cuba. May you never abandon them!".