Dear brothers and sisters:

Only a few days remain before my journey to Cuba.

For this reason, I would like to send you a fraternal greeting before we meet in person.

I am coming to visit you to share faith and hope, so that we may strengthen each other in following Jesus. It does me much good and helps me a great deal to think about your faith in the Lord, the spirit with which you confront everyday difficulties, the love with which you help each other and which you maintain along life’s path. Thank you for this valuable testimony.

For my part, I would like to convey a very simple message, but I believe it is important and necessary. Jesus loves you very much, Jesus truly loves you.

He holds us always in his heart. He knows better than anyone what each person needs, what we long for, our deepest desires, how our hearts are, and he never abandons us, and when we do not behave as he expects, he is always at our side, willing to welcome us, comfort us, give us new hope, another opportunity, a new life. He never leaves, he is always there.

I know you are preparing for this visit with a prayer; for this I thank you again and again. We must pray; we need prayer, this contact with Jesus and Mary. It gives me great joy that, following the counsel of my fellow bishops in Cuba, you are repeating many times a day the prayer we learned as children, “Sacred heart of Jesus, make my heart like yours.” Is it lovely to have a heart like that of Jesus, to know how to love as he does, to forgive, give hope and stand by others.

I want to be among you as the disciple of mercy, of God’s tenderness. But allow me to encourage you to be disciples, as well, of God’s infinite love. May no one be without testimony to our faith, to our love. May everyone know that God always forgives, that God is always at our side, that God loves us.

I am also going to Our Lady of Charity’s Sanctuary in Cobre, as one more pilgrim, as a son who longs to reach his mother’s home. I entrust this journey to her, and I entrust all Cubans to her, as well.

Please, I ask you to pray for me, that Jesus bless you, and the Holy Virgin protect you.

Thank you.