Despite repeated questions from journalists on what Pope Francis will say to President Barack Obama, a joint meeting of Congress and the United Nations on any range of potential subjects, Vatican spokesman Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi advised everyone to wait and listen for themselves.
As Cubans finally face the prospects of calmer relationships and greater ease of communication and commerce with the United States, Pope Francis told the Cuban people that love and service, not anyone’s ideology, are the keys to their happiness.
Pope Francis’ 10th foreign trip will be the longest of his pontificate and, with stops in Cuba, three U.S. cities and the United Nations, it also will be a “very complex trip,” the papal spokesman said.
“The embargo has literally put a block between two hands, two sister churches working together,” Father Molina said. “The church in the United States is very much a missionary church that goes to very different places around the world, not only to spend time with their brothers and sisters, but also to help them.”
In word and deed, Pope Francis will take his vision of a Catholic’s approach to family life, parish life, charity, economics, immigration and good governance to Cuba and the United States during a Sept. 19-27 visit.
The priest prayed an Our Father. The president lit a candle. And while gazing together at a revered image of Cuba’s patroness, the priest reminded the president of the suffering of Cuba’s people.
After spending close to an hour with Pope Francis, Cuban President Raul Castro told reporters he is so impressed by what the pope does and says that he might start praying and could even return to the church.
Pope Francis expressed his joy over the historic turning point in U.S.-Cuba relations as the two countries agreed to restore diplomatic ties after half a century. The pope credited the breakthrough to the consistent, constant efforts of the nations’ ambassadors and the “noble” task of diplomacy.
Tuve el privilegio de acompañar a los obispos de Estados Unidos y centenares de peregrinos a la isla de Cuba, para la visita del Papa Benedicto XVI. Los recuerdos de esta experiencia todavía están latentes. Visitamos Santiago y La Habana.