OFFICIAL VOICE OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF CUBA CENTRAL COMMITTEE

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12:25.-Pope Francis has departed for the United States where he will meet with President Barack Obama and become the first Pontiff to speak before Congress. He is scheduled address a joint session of Congress. The 25th will see him in New York to speak before the UN General Assembly and on the 26th he will hold a mass in Philadelphia and participate in the World Meeting of Families.

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12:20.-The Alitalia plane - transporting His Holiness to the second part of his tour: the United States - has taken off.

Photo: Granma

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12:15.-Raúl bids farewell to Pope Francis at the foot of the airplane stairs. The Pontiff will appear again on September 25th at the UN headquarters in New York.

Photo: Granma

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12:01.-Cuba bids farewell to Pope Francis, Disciple of Mercy.

Photo: Granma

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11:59.-Cuban leaders bid farewell to Pope Francis as he heads to the U.S.

Photo: Granma

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11:59.-Cuban leaders bid farewell to Pope Francis as he heads to the U.S.

Photo: Granma

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11:58.-Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, President of the Councils of State and Ministers bids farewell to Pope Francis and his delegation at the Antonio Maceo International Airport.

Photo: Granma

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11:30.-Pope Francis is now at the Antonio Maceo International Airport, where he will bid farewell to the Cuban people before departing for the United States.

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11:25.-Pope Francis is en route to Santiago de Cuba’s airport from where he will depart for the U.S.

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11:18.-Pope Francis bids farewell to the people of Santiago de Cuba from his popemoblie

Photo: Granma

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11:10.-“A people which look after their elderly, children and young people, are assured to succeed,” stated the Pontiff.

Photo: Granma

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11:05.- Pope Francis thanks the Cuban people for their warm welcome and sends a special greeting to the island’s elderly citizens while also noting that children and the youth represent the future of society.

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11:00.-Pope Francis blesses the city of Santiago de Cuba from the vestibule of the city’s Cathedral.

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10:55.-The Pontiff stated “To all women who are pregnant with hope, because a child is hope…I bless each one of them and every child that exists within them.”

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10:50.- His Holiness: "Families are not a problem, they are an opportunity. An opportunity we have to protect, to care for... they are a blessing.”

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10:48.-"The Family is a school of humanity,” stated the Bishop of Rome.

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10:45.-Pope Francis: "Without family, the home, life, ends up empty of warmth.”

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10:44.-“Nowadays, family spaces and moments are disappearing.”

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10:40.- It is at home where we are taught fraternity, solidarity, not to be selfish, to receive life as a blessing. “It is at home where we experience forgiveness,” commented Pope Francis.

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10:39.- Pope Francis emphasized the role of the family in his speech before

followers in Santiago de Cuba.

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10:38.- Pope Francis highlighted the Cuban people’s capacity to “embrace.”

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10:36.-Pope Francis: "We are among family, and when we are with family, we feel at home… Thank you, Cubans, for making me feel among family these days, making me feel at home… this meeting with you is like the dried fruit in the cake.”

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10:34.- Pope Francis: Thank you, Cubans, for making me feel among family these days, making me feel at home…

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10:32.-The Pontiff speaks of ensuring that the family maintains its sacred nature, which is irreplaceable.

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10:31.-May every family be a welcoming place, with goodness and peace, the Pope says.

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10:24.-The Archbishop of Santiago adds that the family is the institution most valued by Cubans, and, precisely for that reason, is of great concern given the factors eroding its unity and meaning.

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10:22.- Monsignor García Ibáñez: “The Cuban family is joyful, hard-working; the Cuban family wants to remain united; the Cuban family teaches faith to children, to grandchildren; the Christian Cuban family has often been the representative of the Church’s gospel in every small town, in every city, in every parish.”

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10:20.-Upon welcoming the Pope to Santiago’s Cathedral, the president of Cuba’s Council of Bishops, Dionisio García Ibáñez, conveyed the people’s affection, and recalled that the Diocese, established in 1522, had celebrated its 500th anniversary in 2017.

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10:17.-The Pope will speak to Cuban families this morning in an encounter which will go down in the Cathedral’s history.

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10:14.-The Pope is surrounded by children who embrace him and take photos.

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10:00.-Hundreds await the Pope’s arrival in Céspedes Park.

Photo: Ricardo López

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09:52.-Pope Francis arrives in Santiago de Cuba, passing through its Antonio Maceo Plaza de la Revolución, and is welcomed by residents.

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09:34.-The Pope presents a chalice to the Archbishop of Santiago as an expression of gratitude.

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09:33.-Children present the Pope a copy of the petition sent a century ago requesting that the Cobre Lady of Charity be proclaimed the patron saint of Cuba.

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09:32.-In addition to its designation as a Cathedral, Santiago de Cuba’s main church also has the titles Metropolitan and Basilica, which since its earliest days received the island’s highest ecclesiastic authorities. Preserved here is a painting of the saint Ecce Homo, a miraculous work of art from the 17th century, considered the most ancient in Cuba. Buried here are the remains of Diego Velázquez, several Cuban bishops and archbishops.

Photo: Granma

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09:30.-The Santiago Cathedral has undergone a major capital restoration, which began two and a half years ago with work on its cupola, which with its 40 hardwood ribs and other complex architectural features, presented a challenge of unprecedented dimensions, requiring a complicated system of scaffolding and rigging to complete the work at a height of 25 meters.

Photo: Anabel Díaz

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09:25.-The interior of the Cathedral includes ornate false ceilings, paintings and decorations displaying highly skilled work in carving, plasterwork and paper maché.

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09:15.-The current building was designed by the illustrious Carlos Segrera Fernández (Santiago de Cuba 1880-1922).

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09:10.-The Pope will address Santiago’s people from the Cathedral’s balcony.

Photo: Granma

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09:06.-Pope Francis blesses and greets the people congregated outside the Virgin’s Sanctuary in Cobre.

Photo: Granma

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09:05.-The third and last of the Pope’s masses in Cuba ends. His next stop will be Santiago de Cuba’s Cathedral.

Photo: Granma

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09:04.-The jubilee year officially begins to honor the declaration made 100 years ago by Benedict XV of Cobre’s Our Lady of Charity as the patron saint of Cuba.

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09:03.-The Pope wishes all a joyous jubilee year, that their longings and needs be met, adding his request that the faithful pray for him.

Photo: Granma

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08:59.-Monsignor Dionisio García Ibáñez, Archbishop of Santiago de Cuba says: “Through this small, beautiful image of the Cobre Lady of Charity, Cubans feel the mercy of God; it is a source of inspiration, and, before it, prayers for the good of all spring. We feel her closeness and we know she is a source of unity, consolation and hope. Cubans carry her in our hearts, because we know she is the mother of us all. We consider her a symbol of our faith and identity as Cubans.”

Photo: Granma

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08:54.-This is the first time a Pope officiates a mass within the Cobre Lady of Charity Minor Basilica.

Photo: Granma

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08:52.-This extraordinary jubilee year of mercy coincides with the Marian jubilee of te Cobre Lady of Charity.

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08:48.-The faithful receive communion during Pope Francis’ third mass in Cuba.

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08:44.-The Pope offers communion.

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08:42.-

Photo: Granma

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08:40.-A moment of peace, interaction with those close at hand. During the rite of peace, the faithful are reconciled with all in order to receive communion, the blood and body of Christ, as spiritual nourishment.

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08:30.-Now the Offertory, the most sacred moment of the mass, when the host and wine are offered to God by the priest, who purifies himself by symbolically washing his fingers. The Pope asks all present to pray to celebrate the presence of Christ.

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08:28.-The Pope now holds the water, bread and wine, the climax of the mass when the faithful share the body and blood of Christ. All join together in prayer.

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08:27.-The Pope holds the offerings of the Catholic faithful.

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08:26.-In 1998, John Paul II crowned Our Lady of Charity as Cuba’s patron saint and offered her a gold rosary. In 2012, Benedict XVI presented her with the Gold Rose of Christianity

Photo: Granma

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08:25.-The faithful pray for the Church, the country’s governors, for those in need, for all of humanity and the world’s salvation.

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08:24.-

Photo: Granma

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08:20.-The day’s activities scheduled for Pope Francis. At this moment, prayer and recollection are underway.

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08:19.-We must walk with our brothers, not making ourselves invisible, but walking,” because we are “all children of God, children of Mary, children of this noble Cuban land. This is our most precious Cobre (copper) our most precious treasure,” the Pontiff said in his homily.

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08:18.- Pope Francis: “Our faith makes us leave the house and go out to encounter others to share our voices and joys, hopes and frustrations. Our faith gets us out of the house to visit the sick, the imprisoned, those who cry, and also those who know how to laugh and be happy for our neighbors’ joys. Like Mary, we want to be a church that serves, that gets out of the house, out of the temple, out of the sacristy, to accompany life, sustain hope, be a symbol of a noble and worthy people, a church that gets out of the house to build bridges, break down walls.”

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08:17.-“We are called upon to live the revolution of tenderness like Mary, leave the house … Our revolution develops through tenderness, through joy which is always close at hand,” the Pope emphasizes.

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08:16.-Pope Francis emphasizes the figure of Mary in his homily, God’s first disciple, who was devoted to visiting and accompanying all our people during the most difficult moments.

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08:15.-“The soul of the Cuban people was forged amidst pain and penury, which were not able to destroy faith, that faith which remains alive…” the Pontiff says.

Photo: Granma

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08:14.-"The Cuban nation was born and grew with the warmth of devotion to Our Lady of Charity, she has given a special shape to the Cuban soul… sustaining in the hearts of Cubans the best ideals of loving God, the family and the homeland.”

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08:13.-The presence of God in our lives never leaves us stilled, but rather always encourages us to move, Francis says..

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08:12.-Pope Francis: the joy of knowing God is with us, leads us to share the joy received through service.

Photo: Granma

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08:11.-All present are attentive to the Pope’s homily, a key moment during the mass when the presence of God in our daily lives in emphasized.

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08:10.-Now the reading of the Gospel. Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, Cuba’s first Vice President and Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla are attending the mass.

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08:09.-Today in Cobre, in accordance with local traditions, a votive mass is held, dedicated to Our Lady of Charity. Yesterday in Holguín, the Pope officiated a more festive mass, while the ceremony in Havana was the most solemn, given that it was Sunday, the day of the Lord.

Photo: Granma

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08:08.-

Photo: Granma

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08:06.-Hundreds of faithful are gathered outside the Sanctuary to follow the religious ceremony taking place inside.

Photo: Granma

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08:05.-President Raúl Castro is present at the mass taking place within the Cobre Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Charity, in the province of Santiago de Cuba, as he promised the Pontiff.

Photo: Granma

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08:03.-The Pope dressed in white, initiates the votive mass for Our Lady of Charity.

Photo: Granma

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08:02.-After the mass in Cobre, the jubilee year for the 100th anniversary of the proclamation of Our Lady of Charity as Cuba’s patron saint in 1916.

This will be a year of celebration and forgiveness, with a call from the Church for goodness and love.

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08:00.-At 8:00 am the mass officiated by Pope Francis in the Cobre Our Lady of Charity Minor Basilica will begin.

Photo: Granma

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07:50.-The last day of Pope Francis’ apostolic visit in Cuba begins. Follow Granma for all the day’s events.

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21 September

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20:13.-The Bishop of Rome heads for the St. Basil the Great Seminary, where he will spend the night. Today’s activities thus conclude.

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20:10.-A children's choir from the “Casas Verde” project sing “I come to offer my heart.”

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20:09.- The Pope speaks with Monsignor Dionisio García, Archbishop of Santiago de Cuba and president of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Cuba.

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20:06.- Francis concludes the prayer for the Pastoral Plan that the Cuban church is conducting. To pursue the path of Christian formation. Ave Maria is heard in the background. The Pope kisses the children who give him a statue of the Virgin, which significantly, he will take to give to a Cuban community in the United States.

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20:03.-The Pope speaks to Our Lady of Charity: “Make the Cuban nation a home of brothers and sisters so that this people open up their minds.” His Holiness lights two altar candles. One of them was also lit by Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to the Sanctuary in 2012. The image of the Virgin is lowered and placed in the niche with the crucifix. Thus, Francis pays tribute to Our Lady of Charity, and leaves a floral arrangement before her image.

Photo: Radio Rebelde

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20:01.-The Pope: “Your name and image are carved in the minds and hearts of all Cubans inside and outside of the country as a symbol of hope and fraternal communion.”

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19:59.-The Pope also lay a flower arrangement at the image of the Virgin. He concludes with a prayer said aloud.

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19:51.-The Bishop of Rome prays in silence before the altar. He places flowers before the statue of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre. The songs heard are poems from the nineteenth century.

The Pope visits El Cobre. Photo: Radio Rebelde

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19:50.-It is raining in Santiago de Cuba. The Bishop of Rome travels to the Shrine of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre, a symbol of the unity of Cubans. The invocation of the Virgin Mary was an important part of the formation of the nation, stamped on scapulars and protections which accompanied both the mambises and the rebels, historian Olga Portuondo noted.

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19:45.-The historian of Santiago de Cuba, Olga Portuondo, notes that the significant role of Our Lady of Charity in Cuba and as her status as a national symbol were highlighted during the visit by John Paul II who crowned her image himself; and that of Benedict XVI who came to her shrine as a pilgrim; and now with the visit of Pope Francis.

The Pope visits El Cobre. Photo: Cuban television image. 

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19:07.-The Pope is now at the St. Basil the Great Seminary where he will have a private meeting with 15 bishops.

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18:56.-Manuel Alejandro Rodríguez Yong is 25 and forms part of the communications team of the Diocese of Holguín. When he heard for the first time that the Pope would visit his city, the young photographer dreamed of getting a skullcap to be able to have an exchange with the Pontiff. Today not only did his wish come true, but, as he says, he was able to experience the “tenderness of God” in the embrace that the Pontiff shared with him. Manuel studies film at the International School of Film and Television of San Antonio de los Baños. This morning, when Pope Francis arrived at the Plaza de la Revolución in Holguín to celebrate Holy Mass, he knew that his time had come. With great effort he succeeded in making sure the Pope saw the skullcap, which he had got through a friend, in his hand. The young man came to the popemobile to give the cap to the Pope and asked if he could hug him. In response, the Pope opened his arms and said “of course.” “Hugging him was like a caress from God. Like the embrace of the pastor who is open to welcome each of his children, no matter where you come from or who you are. I believe the hug from Francis has made me feel the tenderness of God this morning. It really is a great blessing for which I am totally grateful,” he told ACI Prensa.

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18:07.-The historian of Santiago de Cuba, Olga Portuondo, recalled that “in 1918 the first stone of the new (and current) sanctuary in La Maboa was placed. Completed in 1927, except for the staircase finished two decades later, it was funded by numerous donations from across the island. The sanctuary, a mecca for pilgrims from all over, became a place of spiritual meeting for the Creoles of Cuba and the value of the lady of El Cobre gained strength during the first decades of the century.”

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17:51.- The Pope will visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre, where he will officially start the Jubilee Year for the 100th anniversary of the proclamation of Our Lady of Charity as Patroness of Cuba (1916). In 1915 the veterans of the War of Independence wrote to Pope Benedict XV asking him to proclaim Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre as Patroness of Cuba. On May 10, 1916, Pope Benedict XV declared her patron saint of the island. Pope Pius XI granted a Canonical Coronation towards her image.

Foto: Alfredo Nieves/CubaMinrex
Photo: Anabel Díaz

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17:14.-Pope Francis tours the streets of Santiago on route to El Cobre. Locals spontaneously greet and welcome him.

Pope Francis tours the streets of Santiago on route to El Cobre. Locals spontaneously greet and welcome him. Photo: Ricardo López Hevia
Pope Francis tours the streets of Santiago on route to El Cobre. Locals spontaneously greet and welcome him. Photo: Ricardo López Hevia
Pope Francis tours the streets of Santiago on route to El Cobre. Locals spontaneously greet and welcome him. Photo: Ricardo López Hevia
Pope Francis tours the streets of Santiago on route to El Cobre. Locals spontaneously greet and welcome him. Foto: López Sánchez, Ricardo

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17:12.-Pope Francis will visit the St Basil The Great Seminary - Hermanos de La Salle School, founded in Santiago de Cuba in 1722. It is the oldest higher education institution in Cuba.

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17:02.-The Pope addresses those present at the airport and asks the choir to sing again.

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17:02.-A choir of 30 children welcomes the Pope. There are also youngsters from the youth ministry in Santiago who carry a sign saying "street of faith," said Francisco as the youth world meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Pope Francis enjoys music from the youth choir welcoming him to Santiago de Cuba. Photo: Granma

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17:00.-The Pope arrives at Antonio Maceo International Airport in Santiago de Cuba, the third and last leg of his tour of the island. He is received in Santiago - known as the “Hero City” and the birthplace of the Revolution - by Esteban Lazo, president of the Cuban parliament and Lázaro Expósito, Provincial Party Secretary.

Esteban Lazo welcomes Pope Francis to Santiago. Photo: Granma

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16:49.-Pope Francis arrives in Santiago de Cuba, the second most populated province of the island. Together with Havana, Santiago has been visited by all three popes who have travelled to the island – John Paul II in 1998, and Benedict XVI in 2012. One of the first seven villas founded in Cuba by Spanish colonizer Diego Velázquez, on July 25, 1515, Santiago welcomes Pope Francis having recently celebrated its 500 years of existence.

Photo: Granma
Photo: Granma

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16:25.-In 1915 the veterans of the War of Independence wrote to Pope Benedict XV asking him to proclaim Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre as Patroness of Cuba. On May 10, 1916, Pope Benedict XV declared her patron saint of the island. Pope Pius XI granted a Canonical Coronation towards her image.

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16:11.-Pope Francis is bid farewell in Holguín by First Vice President of the Councils of State and Ministers, Miguel Díaz-Canel, and Julio César Estupiñán, president of the Provincial Assembly of People’s Power.

Photo: Granma
Photo: Granma

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16:05.- Pope Francis will visit the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre where he will officially inaugurate the Jubilee Year on the occasion of the centenary of the declaration of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre as Patron Saint of Cuba (1916).

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16:00.-

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15:55.-

Photo: Granma

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15:50.-Accodring to the Pope Francis’ schedule, he will arrive in Santiago de Cuba this afternoon. From Santiago de Cuba International Airport he will travel to theSeminaryofSan BasilioelMagno, where he is scheduled to stay. Later he will meet with bishops and visit the Minor Basilica of the Shrine of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre where he will pray to Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre.

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15:40.- Ecclesiastical authorities of Holguín explain the history of the Hill of the Cross to Pope Francis. There he will board the popemoblie which will transport him to the Frank País International Airport from where he will depart for Santiago de Cuba.

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15:38.- Children’s choir serenades the Pontiff on the Hill of the Cross.

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15:37.- The cross is a sign of forgives as Jesús, nailed to a cross, forgave those who crucified him.

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15:36.- Pope Francis blessed the city of Holguín from the Hill of the Cross.

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15:32.-The Pontiff beings the blessing in front of the cross “which illuminates the lives of the young and the sick.

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15:31.-Pope Francis arrives at the Hill of Cross in the city of Holguín from where he will bless the city.

Photo: Granma

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14:56.-

Photo: Granma

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14:55.-

Photo: Granma

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14:50.- Pope Francis visits the Catedral of San Isidoro de Holguín.

Photo: Granma

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14:34.-Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman praised the speech made by Monsignor Emilio Aranguren Echeverría, Bishop of Holguín, who highlighted the selfless efforts of the highest authority of the Catholic Church, in defense of the poor and the environment. According to Radio Reloj, Father Lombardi expressed his admiration for Cuba, and in particular its solidarity with and treatment of children.

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14:31.- Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, described the mass attended by approximately 150,000 people and held in Plaza de la Revolución Calixto García in the province of Holguín as marvelous. He also highlighted the presence of Cuban President Raúl Castro at the service and the cordial greeting between both heads of state, reported Radio Reloj.

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13:36.- The Cathedral holds baptism, marriage and death records dating back to 1731. The Church of San Isidoro was promoted to the level of Cathedral in 1979 and sanctified in 1996.

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13:34.-The Cathedral of San Isidoro was inaugurated around 1818 – 1820.

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13:31.-The memorial to Pope John Paul II is located in the vestibule of the Cathedral of San Isidoro de Holguín.

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13:24.- Lombardi stated that Pope Francis is one of today’s greater teachers of humanity.

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13:18.-Pope Francis visited the monument to San Juan Pablo, located in the vestibule of the Cathedral of San Isidoro de Holguín.

Photo: Granma

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12:35.- In 1927 works began on a small circular plaza, a chapel, two lookouts and a 458 step stairway.

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12:34.- At the outset of Cuba’s Wars of Independence on October 10, 1868, the Hill of the Cross became an important and strategic site from where the city of San Isidoro de Holguín and beyond could be seen.

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12:33.-The Pontiff will pray at the foot of the emblematic five-meter tall cross built in 1970 at the top of the hill, known as “The Hill of the Cross.”

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11:58.-President Raúl Castro greets the faithful.

Photo: Granma

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11:47.-Pope Francis: “I ask the Lord to help you on this path of goodness, encounter and love, and in the end, as a needy beggar, I ask that you do not forget to pray for me.” With these words, the Pontiff’s mass in Holguín’s Plaza Calixto García ends.

Photo: Granma

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11:45.- The Pope puts on his mitre and blesses the crowd.

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11:35.-

Photo: Granma

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11:26.-

Photo: Granma

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11:23.-The rite of communion, exchanges with those closely, followed by the fraternal rite of peace in which the person seeks reconciliation with all. One cannot receive the blood of Christ without peace.

Photo: Granma

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11:15.-

Photo: Granma

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11:13.-The most important moment, sharing the body and blood of Christ. All come together in prayer.

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11:10.- The host is reminiscent of the flat bread eaten by the Jews when they fled slavery in Egypt, and signifies the sweat and work every person must do to earn one’s daily bread. The Church’s faith is not removed from daily life. The wine signifies joy, friendship, sharing. It is the blood of Christ the Savior.

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11:08.-

Photo: Granma

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11:06.-Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers is present for the mass in Holguín’s Calixto García Plaza de la Revolución.

Photo: Granma

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11:02.-The homily ends. A moment of silence is observed, to allow for meditation.

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11:00.-Work hard to maintain a spirit of unity, linked to peace, the Pope said.

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10:59.-I know the effort and sacrifice with which the Catholic Church in Cuba works, the Pontiff said.

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10:59.-I know the effort and sacrifice with which the Catholic Church in Cuba works, the Pontiff said.

Photo: Granma

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10:57.-The homily is very important for the daily lives of the faithful; it cannot be omitted on Sundays or holidays. In the sacred Scriptures, God speaks; in the homily, the Church speaks, as the depository of revelation, with the assistance of the Holy Ghost to interpret the Scriptures.

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10:56.- In his homily, the Pope again speaks of service to others.

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10:54.- Pope Francis: The Lord always looks at us first. Let us look through Jesus, let his look travel through our streets

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10:45.- Reading begins of the gospel according to Matthew.

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10:44.-The vestment which the Pope wore for the mass in Havana was green, which is the color of hope. Here in Holguín he is wearing red, signifying the martyrdom and strength of the Holy Ghost, used on Saint Days, today being that of Matthew, the disciple, a festive day, according to Father Rolando, with celebrations directed to the Lord. A saint, he says, is a witness to faith, an intermediary who prays to God for us.

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10:43.-Between the first and second readings, a psalm is recited in response, to allow for meditation. During this segment, the faithful are seated attentively, to be nourished and strengthened by the words of God. God speaks, one must listen with veneration. Next comes the Hallelujah, a song of joy. There is movement at the altar, the priest approaches the podium.

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10:42.-The Liturgy of the Word is one of the most important parts of the mass. In daily masses, it consists of only one reading. On Sundays and holidays, there are two –the first usually from the Old Testament and the second from the New Testament, Acts or Epistles.

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10:40.-The liturgy begins, the first part of the mass when God speaks to the faithful. Since today is a celebration, we will hear a reading and a psalm.

Photo: Granma

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10:33.- The Pontiff spreads incense near the image of Our Lady of Charity and throughout the altar area, where Christ is present within the Eucharist.

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10:28.-The Pope, priests and bishop reach the stage. The mass will be celebrated at an altar with the necessary crucifix, as a reminder to the faithful of Christ’s sacrifice. The priest’s bow is the first act of reverence and adoration. Kissing the altar signifies a kiss for the Church.

Photo: Granma

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10:26.- The Church of Cuba’s pastoral plan is read which notes that the church is constantly under renovation. Catholics are transforming the way they live the Gospel. Now they pray for creation.

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10:23.-Youth from Catholic communities within the Archdiocese of Holguín speak in the Plaza.

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10:20.- The mass begins

Photo: Granma

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10:16.-

Photo: Granma

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10:15.-

Photo: 5daysforthecuban5.com

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10:10.-

Photo: Granma

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10:06.-The two metal bleachers for the press consist of four levels and cover 87 square meters, as is that designed for the 160 person choir which will participate in the mass, adding Cuban rhythm to traditional chants and hymns.

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10:02.-the Pontiff is in the la Plaza de la Revolución.

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9:58.-The Pope reaches the area where the Calixto García Stadium is located.

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9:52.-The Pontiff leaves Frank País International Airport, heading to the Plaza where he will celebrate a mass.

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9:52.- Holguín’s San Isidoro Cathedral is an impressive construction with three wide doors and a columned front. The interior is distinguished by original carved wooden ceilings. Previously the area’s parish church, preserved here are records of deaths, marriages and baptisms from as early as 1731. San Isidoro’s was designated a cathedral in 1979.

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9:51.-The first San Isidoro Church was blessed April 3, 1720 in the city of Holguín, elevated to Cathedral status in 1979 and consecrated in 1996. The original church was constructed by Governor D. Diego de Ávila y de la Torre, and survived until 1815. In 1720, a mass was held here to consecrate the building and celebrate the city’s founding.

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9:40.-

Photo: Granma

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9:32.-The image of Our Lady of Charity was found in the Nipe Bay by

Juan Moreno and the Hoyo brothers. They took it to Barajagua, where it was originally venerated, and later transported to the royal mines of Santiago del Prado.

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9:25.-Pope Francis greets well-wishers at Frank País International Airport.

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9:17.-With Miguel Díaz-Canel, first Vice President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers, is Julio César Estupiñán, president of the Provincial Assembly of People’s Power.

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9:13.-The Alitalia flight with Pope Francis and his entourage aboard has landed in Holguín. Present to greet him at the airport is First Vice President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez.

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8:55.- Holguineros arriving to the Plaza.

Photo: Granma

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8:50.-Pope Francis should be arriving to Holguín within minutes.

Photo: Granma

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8:35.-The province of Holguín is the country’s third largest , with a surface area of 9,3006 km², representing 8.6 % of the island. It includes 14 municipalities, with 1,112 settlements, 43 considered urban. It has a population of just over 1.37 million.

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8:30.-The Pope will visit the staue of John Paul II in Holguín.

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8:25.- 8:05.-The altar from which the Pontiff will give his sermon is decorated to recall the waves of Nipe Bay and Cayo Bariay, where the image of the Our Lady of Charity “Cachita” was found in 1612.

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8:20.-

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8:07.- To facilitate access to the Hill of the Cross, a staircase of 459 steps was constructed, with benches and much needed rest points along the way, since the climb is strenuous. The determined make it to the top, although plans exist to construct a cable car, so the elderly and handicapped can participate in the tradition.

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8:07.-Pope Francis will visit the sculpture of John Paul II in Holguín.

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8:05.-The altar from which the Pontiff will give his sermon is decorated to recall the waves of Nipe Bay and Cayo Bariay, where the image of the Our Lady of Charity “Cachita” was found in 1612.

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07:50.-Holguín is a province located in Cuba’s eastern region, known as the City of Parks. Opoe Francis will officiate his second mass here and pray at the foot of the city emblematic five-meter cross built in 1970 atop a hill overlooking the town. More info: http://www.conocecuba.com.mx/holguin.html

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07:49.-Pope Francis will officiate a mass in Calixto García ĺñiguez Plaza de la Revolución during his visit to this part of the country, which also includes activities in Santiago de Cuba.

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07:42.-The Pontiff arrived at Havana’s airport to travel to the eastern province of Holguín. Esteban Lazo, President of the National Assembly, accompanied Pope Francis to bid him farewell.

Photo: AIN

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20 September

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22:10.-In photos, the Pontiff’s meeting with the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution Fidel Castro

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21:05.-Watch the video of the meeting between the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, and Pope Francis.

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20:42.-The Vatican spokesperson noted that during the encounter with young people, the Pope insisted on the culture of dialogue.

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20:40.-Father Lombardi said that an important moment occurred in the Cathedral of Havana, where the work of mercy with children and the disabled was highlighted, through a very moving testimony. The Pope spoke there of poverty, mercy, forgiveness and the humility of Christ.

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20:38.-He said the gift from Alexis Leyva, Kcho, a cross made using boat oars, was taken to the Vatican for an exhibition and now also carries a dead Christ on the cross, something very symbolic.

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20:25.-Father Lombardi highlighted the Pope’s concluding greetings for Raúl, the President of Argentina, Cristina Fernández, and the First Lady of Panama Lorena Castillo, as marking an important moment at today’s mass.

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20:20.- He noted the Pope's words on Colombia, his thoughts regarding this land given this important moment. He reiterated Pope Francis’ words: “We do not have the right to another fiasco on this road to peace and reconciliation,” as well as the thanks to Raúl for Cuba’s support for the ongoing peace talks.

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20:15.-Father Lombardi insisted it has been a very rich day, which has seen the Pope tired at certain moments, but that when he starts talking he has an incredible energy, as we have witnessed today.

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19:28.- Today’s public activities for the apostolic visit of Pope Francis to Cuba have concluded. Tomorrow His Holiness travels to Holguín where he will officiate a mass and visit the Hill of the Cross.

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19:25.-His Holiness bid farewell to the young appealing to patriotism and harmony between people.

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19:22.-“To you, young Cubans, although you have different views, I want you to be accompanied, seeking the future and the dignity of your homeland together. At the end something even better awaits you, the sweet hope of the motherland we want to achieve. I will pray for you and ask you to pray for me, and if one can not pray because he is not a believer, at least, wish me good things. May God bless you all,” Pope Francis concluded.

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19:17.-Pope Francis also referred to the problem of youth unemployment in Europe. “A people that do not care to employ the young have no future,” he said.

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19:16.-The Bishop of Rome called for respect for differences and working together for the common good. “The world is destroyed by enmity and the greatest enmity is war, which is destroying the world. Let’s negotiate but not kill the world anymore. We are killing the ability to unite, to create social friendship.”

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19:15.-“A family is destroyed by enmity, a country destroyed by enmity, the world is destroyed by enmity. And the biggest enmity is war,” the Pope states.

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19:10.-In his message to young people, the Pope cites the words of a Latin American writer: “People have two eyes, one of flesh and the other made of glass, with the one of flesh we see what we are looking at, with the one made of glass we see what we dream.” The ability to dream must be included within the objectivity of life, Pope Francis states. “He who can not dream is not young.” Dream that the world may be different, if you give the best of yourselves you will help to have a different world. “ Do not forget to dream,” he insisted.

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19:02.-“Welcome to Cuba, the Cuban youth love you,” is heard.

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19:00.-The youth speak with the Pope. “Our great strength lies in maintaining solidarity at all costs to help us to overcome any obstacle,” a representative states.

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18:55.-The youth present Pope Francis with a cross to bless, the same that will accompany them during World Youth Day in 2016.

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18:50.-Pope Francis made the journey on foot from the Cathedral to the Félix Varela Cultural Center, the former San Carlos and San Ambrosio Seminary. Awaiting to hear him speak were hundreds of young people.

Photo: Granma

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18:40.-Youth await Pope Francis at the Félix Varela Cultural Center.

Photo: Yaimí Ravelo

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18:32.-“May the Lord grant us poverty and mercy because there we find Jesus,” His Holiness concluded.

Pope Francis visits the Cathedral of Havana.

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18:27.- The Pontiff thanked all the devoted for caring for the youngest and the sick.

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18:25.-

Tweet from José Carlos inside the Cathedral

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18:23.-“When you help the most abandoned, the sickest, he who no one considers and no one wants, you are serving Jesus superlatively,” Pope Francis said. He described the “Houses of Mercy” as places where the tenderness and mercy of God are most evident, where caring takes place.

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18:22.-

Tweet from “Papa en Cuba” account.

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18:20.-“God wants our Holy Mother Church to be poor, just as he wanted our Holy Mother Mary to be poor.” Pope Francis called on the congregation not to forget the first beatitude, “Blessed are the poor who are not attached to wealth.”

The Pope speaking in Havana’s Cathedral.

Photo: Granma

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18:17.- More details available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nEKXNi_JFM&feature=youtu.be

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18:16.-

Tweet Vatican Insider

Photo: Granma

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18:15.-When possessions enter the heart and guide your life you have already lost, you are no longer like Jesus, the Bishop of Rome states. He quoted St. Ignatius when he said that poverty was the mother and also the wall of consecrated life. Pope Francis summoned the spirit of dispossession, to leave everything behind in order to follow Jesus.

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18:10.-Pope Francis: “The spirit of the world does not follow the path of the son of God who emptied himself and became poor to be like us.”

The Pope in the Cathedral.

Photo: Granma

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18:08.-Alfredo Nieves informs that the Pope is at the Cathedral on his twitter account @AlfredoNievesP

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18:05.-Remarks by His Holiness at the Cathedral of Havana, urging Cubans to believe. Pope Francisco improvises and talks with the Cuban congregation. Although he had prepared a homily, he has preferred to discuss issues presented by Cardinal Jaime Ortega, such as poverty.

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18:00.-

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17:55.-The Pope has initiated evening prayers, with the hymn “Abide with Me, Fast Falls the Eventide” performed by the Schola Cantorum Coralina choir.

Cuban television image

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17:50.-Young Cubans are awaiting the arrival of Pope Francis at the Félix Varela Cultural Center. Beatriz González, an Information Sciences student, said the Pope's call for the new generation to be the protagonists of their history, has been part of the daily life of Cubans during these over 50 years of Revolution. We share Pope Francis’ message of peace, unity and love among peoples.

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17:47.-A young nun shares her life story with the Pope and those gathered in the Cathedral.

Cuban television image

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17:45.-Cardinal Ortega welcomes Pope Francis to the Cathedral of San Cristobal de La Habana. “We hope your personal testimony compels us to love the poor and encourage missionaries to share with us. May your renewed breath of commitment and hope sow a seed.”

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17:40.-His Holiness prays and greets parishioners at the Cathedral of Havana.

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17:30.- Bells ring at the Cathedral of Havana, the Pope arrives at the church and greets those gathered before entering.

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17:22.- On route to Havana’s Cathedral, the Pope has just arrived in the Jesuit parish of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and St. Ignatius of Loyola, where he has greeted children and the sick.

Photo: Yaimí Ravelo

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17:20.-The Gothic style Convent and Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and St. Ignatius of Loyola is the tallest church in Cuba. The 50-meter high tower can be seen from various points of the city.

Photo: Yaimí Ravelo

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17:15.-As part of his tour along the street called “Reyna”, the Pope will make a brief stop at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church

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17:10.-The Pope gives the Cuban leader a mosaic of “Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre”, by artists at the Vatican Mosaic Studio.

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17:05.-The meeting between Raúl and Pope Francis

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16:56.-The Army General presented the Pontiff with a work by visual artist Alexis Leyva Machado (Kcho)

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16:55.-The private courtesy meeting between Cuban President Raúl Castro and Pope Francis in the Palace of the Revolution has concluded.

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16:45.-A crowd of young people await Pope Francis outside the Father Félix Varela Cultural Centre.

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16:35.- Pope Francis is a sports fan, and especially enjoys football. The Pontiff has stated that he supports Argentina’s Club Atlético San Lorenzo de Almagro.

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16:25.-Just like his predecessors, John Paul II in 1998 and Benedict XVI in 2012, Pope Francis met with the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro.

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16:13.-Raúl and Pope Francis speak at the Council of State headquarters. Both leaders to hold a private meeting shortly. 16:12.- Accompanying Raúl and the Pope are the First Vice President of the Councils of State and Ministers, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez; Cuban Minister, Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla and Cardinal and Archbishop of Havana, Jaime Ortega Alamino.

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16:10.- Father Juan Miguel Arregui, highlighted the historic significance of the visit of the first Jesuit Pope to the parish headquarters.

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16:07.- A hive of emotions, excitement and expectations…This was the scene Granma reporters encountered on Reina Street outside the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Saint Ignacio de Loyola parish, Jesuit headquarters in Cuba. Hundreds of parishioners and ordinary citizens await Pope Francis’ arrival.

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16:05.- Cuban President Raúl Castro receives Pope Francis on a courtesy visit to Havana’s Palace of the Revolution.

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14:22.- No coincidence, 3 Argentines, friends of Cuba, committed to the people and above all REVOLUTIONARIES. #PapaEnCuba

Photo: Twitter

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13:18.- “Cuba is an archipelago which faces all directions, and is of extraordinary importance as “the key” between the North and South, East and West. Its natural role is that of a point of encounter so that all peoples might come together in friendship,” stated the Pontiff on arrival in Cuba. People from across the world traveled to the Plaza de la Revolución to attend the mass officiated by Pope Francis.

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13:15.-Accodring to Lombardi the encounter between Francisco and Fidel was pleasant. They exchanged gifts. The Pope presented Fidel with various books.

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13:12.- Monsignor Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman confirmed in a press conference that Pope Francis held a meeting with Fidel Castro after the mass.

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12:53.- Monsignor Federico Lombardi to hold Press Briefing in the Hotel Nacional’s Press Hall shortly.

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12:12.-Members of Granma’s editorial team reporting in real timeon Pope Francis’ visit to Cuba.

Photo: Jose M. Correa
Photo: Jose M. Correa
Photo: Jose M. Correa
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12:07.- María Elena Bergoglio, sister of #PapaFranciso, on national television. The Pope comes from a humble background, which is why he understands the problems of the Americas so well…

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11:44.- Dr. Raúl Garcés Corra, deacon of the University of Havana’s Faculty of Communication, spoke about the Pontiff, describing the key role he played in talks between the Cuban and U.S. governments.

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11:15.-The Pope’s schedule for the rest of the day:

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10:32.-The Pontiff addresses the sacristy, after greeting Presidents Raúl Castro and Cristina Fernández

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10:30.-The mass officiated by Pope Francis in Havana’s Plaza de la Revolución ends.

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10:29.-Pope Francis blesses the Cuban people, calling all to reconciliation and the mercy of God. He concluded, “Please do not forget to pray for me.”

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10:29.-The Cuban people join the Pope in reciting the ‘Hail Mary.’

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10.28.-

twitter de Rosa Miriam Elizalde

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10:27.-Since November 19, 2012, Cuba has served as the site of talks between the government of Juan Manuel Santos and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.-People’s Army (FARC-EP).

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10:26.-The Pope asks that efforts be maintained to achieve peace in Colombia, saying, “We do not have the right to another fiasco on this road to peace and reconciliation.” He thanked President Raúl Castro for the country’s work supporting the Colombian peace process.

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10:25.-Cardinal Jaime Ortega, archbishop of Havana, participated in the mass, offering words of gratitude to the Pontiff.

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10:14.-Father Rolando recalls that Félix Varela [1788 - 1853] awakened another generation of Cuban patriots

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10:09.-Now in Havana, the Angelus, a prayer which invites recollection of the moment when Mary accepts God, accompanied by the choir. This moment also includes recitations of the ‘Hail Mary.’

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10:06.-Those who receive communion have been baptized and confirmed in the Catholic Church. This is a moment of solidarity and love.

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09:22.-Pope Francis: Jesus always presents the logic of love, a logic for everyone, Jesus says: Whoever cars to be great, serve others.” Pope Francis officiate mass.

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09:22.-Pope Francis in his homily, “Being a Christian is struggling for and serving your brothers and sisters.”

P

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 09:16.-the Pope kisses the Bible and prepares to present his homily. It is a sermon, generally based on the Gospel.

The Pope’s Havana mass.

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09:12.-Pope Francis officiates the mass accompanied by statues of Christ and Our Lady of Charity.

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09:11.-He reads from St. Mark’s Gospel. The reading of the Gospel constitutes the conclusion of the liturgy.

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09:10.-The liturgy is divided into the first reading which is usually taken from the Old Testament, a psalm response, in which a fragment of a psalm is chanted or recited, also from the Old Testament. The second reading is taken from the apostles, especially St Paul, from the New Testament and finally the Halleluiah, a chant in which te faithful welcome and greet the Lord, who speaks through the Gospel, and profess their faith through song. Moments of the Holy Mass

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09:06.-The people make the divine word their own with a moment of silence and show their adherence by reciting the credo. Once nurtured by these, the collective prayer begs for the entire Church’s needs and for the world’s salvation.

Pope Frances officiates mass in Havana.

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09:04.-Readings from the holy scripture, the credo and the faithful’s prayer.

Thousands gather in Havana’s Plaza de la Revolución for the Pope’s mass. Photo: MINREX

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09:02.-‘Lord have mercy’ is heard, next the Gloria chant.

The choir praises God and asks for mercy.

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08:58.-The holy mass officiated by Pope Francis begins in Havana’s Plaza de la Revolución.

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08:58.-Pope Francis reverently kisses the altar, which represents Christ among the people. This is a sacred moment.

Photo from television

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08:57.-Seminarians wear black and white, Father Rolando explains. The Cuban bishops and those from the Papal entourage wear mitres on their heads. The ceremony begins.

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08:56.-Father Rolando: Mercy is the Christian attitude which means to search for those who need us. Mother Teresa is an example of mercy, misericordia. The Pope insists on giving the hungry food, the hungry concern him greatly.

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08:56.-Father Rolando: The Eucharist is another way to speak of the mass, and means ‘thanksgiving.’

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08:54.-State authorities attend holy mass officiated by Pope Francis.

 City Historian Eusebio Leal in the Plaza.

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08:53.-Father Rolando recalls a phrase by Cuba’s national hero José Martí: “Whoever has not read Homer, or Aeschylus, or the Bible, who has not read Shakespeare, is a person who doesn’t think, who hasn’t seen all of he sun, or felt the entire wing unfold on his back

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08:53.-Father Rolando recalls a phrase by Cuba’s national hero José Martí: “Whoever has not read Homer, or Aeschylus, or the Bible, who has not read Shakespeare, is a person who doesn’t think, who hasn’t seen all of he sun, or felt the entire wing unfold on his back

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08:52.-Cuban authorities from government and the Party present, also Frei Betto.

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08:47.-Pope Francis stops to kiss a Cuban child in the Plaza, as he arrives to officiate a mass in Havana’s Plaza de la Revolución.

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08:46.-Father Rolando: Cardinal Jaime Ortega wears a red robe which distinguishes cardinals. Red represents their willingness to shed their blood for the gospel, upon assuming the responsibility.


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08:46.-Father Rolando: Cardinal Jaime Ortega wears a red robe which distinguishes cardinals. Red represents their willingness to shed their blood for the gospel, upon assuming the responsibility.


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08:44.-Father Rolando: The music in the mass is prayer.

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08:43.-Cristina Fernández, president of Argentina, with Raúl, to witness the Pope’s mass.

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08:43.-A moment of silence in the Plaza as the holy mass officiated by Pope Francis begins.

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08:41.-The message of peace and love brought by Pope Francis, as the disciple of mercy, is welcomed by the Cuban people with pleasure, since it reflects the principles always defended in our society.

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08:41.-Father Rolando: The gospel’s message is a very human one and emerges in different cultures and religions. The Pope is characterized by his commitment to dialogue with persons from other religions and is continually emphasizing the need to join forces in the search for peace.

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08:34.-President Raúl Castro, wearing a white guayabera, to attend the Pope’s mass.

Photo from television

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08:34.-Argentine President Cristina Fernández is in the Plaza.

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08:26.-Cuban music is heard as the Pope arrives. He greets the crowd gathered for the mass. Father Rolando explains that several Cuban priests have arranged traditional Christian music with Cuban rhythms.

Pho

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08:25.-Father Rolando: “the Pope comes to rekindle faith and hope amiong this people, and to be encouraged by us. Everyone leaves this encounter enriched.

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08:17.-Cuban television contacts Father Rolando, priest from the Cuban municipality of Maisí who explains the Pope’s mission, as the disciple of mercy, bringing the teachings of Jesus Christ in his words and heart. He is Christ’s messenger to the Cuban people.

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08:17.-Pope Francis arrives in the Plaza to the people’s joy.

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[gallery]53[/gallery]

Photos: Thousands come out to welcome the Pope

 Thousands of residents and visitors came out to welcome the Pope along the 18 kilometer route he traveled from the José Martí International Airport to the Havana Nunciature.

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19 September

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19:53.- Regarding the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the U.S. on Cuba, he recalled that the elimination of this measure has been an issue highlighted by bishops such as the three Popes that have visited Cuba.

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19:53.- Later he recalled, as Pope Francis has also expressed, that in general the world needs reconciliation given the current state of affairs.

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19:52.-Federico Lombardi: Peace is the key word regarding the Pope’s visit to Cuba and the U.S.

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19:52.- The Pontiff has emphasized the need for the Catholic Church to be an active member of society.

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19:35.- Lombardi noted that the process of the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between Washington and Havana, constitutes a sign of hope to change the history of relations between the two countries.

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19:35.- Father Lombardi highlighted Pope Francis’ description of Cuba as a point of encounter for the peoples of the world, united in friendship.

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19:35.-His Holiness will visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre as a son and pilgrim.

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19:34.-100 years after the mambí veterans requested that the then Bishop of Rome proclaim Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre Patron Saint of Cuba, Cuban people’s devotion to the figure and mambí identity remains evident.

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19:33.-Many remember the historic words of the first Pope to visit Cuba, now a Saint, (John Paul II): "May Cuba with all its glorious possibilities open up to the world, and may the world open up to Cuba.”

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19:32.- Cuba and the Vatican enjoy 80 years of uninterrupted bilateral relations.

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19:30.- In regards to Pope Francis’ visit, Lombardi recalled that it represents "the clear continuation" of the connection established by John Paul II and Benedict XVI’s visits to the island.

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19:29.- Around 100,000 people came out to welcome the Pope on his journey from the José Martí International Airport to the Apostolic Nunciature in Havana.

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19:28.-He thanked the Cuban government and people for their warm welcome, noting that His Holiness was also moved by these demonstrations of love and respect.

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19:28.-He highlighted the good state of relations maintained between Cuba and the Vatican, currently celebrating 80 years of uninterrupted ties.

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19:27.- This also includes Cubans throughout the world. In this sense, a common feature in speeches made by the two other Popes who have visited the island, has been to address all Cubans, no matter where they reside.

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19:20.-The Pope’s first speech – noted Lombardi – is a prelude to other statements directed toward Cuban women and men.

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19:19.-He noted the importance of Pope Francis' speech at their airport, which despite its brevity was of key significance, and that “close attention must be paid to every word,” in order to understand the full dimension of his message.

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19:19.- Lombardi stated that this morning His Holiness met with a family of refugees and was given details of their situation. He recalled that the Pontiff has placed great emphasis of the family.

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19:16.-Peace, reconciliation and the building of bridges: clear messages from Pope Francis regarding the significance of his current apostolic visit to Cuba and the United States.

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19:15.- Anecdotes and details of Pope Francis’ journey Cuba and his exchange with the 76 journalists who accompanied him on board the aircraft, were shared by Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman.

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18:54.-Father Lombardi: The Catholic Church and current and previous Popes are opposed to the U.S. blockade. Pope Francis will follow this same line.

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18:54.-Father Lombardi: The Catholic Church and current and previous Popes are opposed to the U.S. blockade. Pope Francis will follow this same line.

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18:54.-Federico Lombardi: The aim of the visit is clear and positive.

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18:52.-Federico Lombardi noted that around 100,000 people participated in welcoming Pope Francis.

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18:52.-Father Lombardi noted that Pope Francis will visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre as a son and pilgrim.

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18:50.-Federico Lombardi added that in his speech Pope Francis highlighted the importance of 80 years of uninterrupted ties between Cuba and the Vatican. ------------------------------------------------------------------------

18:48.- During the press conference Federico Lombardi noted: Pope Francis was greatly moved by the Cuban people’s warm welcome and enthusiasm.

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18:48.-Father Lombardi: During his flight the Pope asked journalists to support him on his mission to promote peace and build bridges.

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18:42.-Federico Lombardi noted that peace is the key word of the apostolic visit.

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18:42.- During the press conference, Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, described the journey to Cuba as relaxed; during which the Pope greeted members of the press accompanying him on the airplane, as is customary.

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18:07.- Everything is ready for the mass to be held by Pope Francis tomorrow at 9:00am in the Plaza de la Revolución.

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17:58.- During his welcome speech Raúl noted to the Pontiff that over 167,000 foreign students, the majority from poor countries, have graduated in Cuba.

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17:50.- Press Briefing by Monsignor Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman at the Hotel Nacional’s Press Hall to be held shortly

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17:44.- The Pope greets an applauding joyous crowd from the gardens of the Nunciature.

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17:38.- The Pope has stated on several occasions that climate change is real and is the result of humanity’s actions. "The rich countries have an ecological debt to poorer countries.”

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17:38.-The Pontiff arrives at the Nunciature. He received demonstrations of love from the Cuban people on his journey from the José Martí International Airport.

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17:34.- The Pope is currently in the municipality of Playa where citizens from neighboring municipalities have also gathered. The Cuban people accompany the Pontiff on his journey in the open air popemobile.

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17:28.-Pope Francis just passed by the Ramón Pando Ferrer Ophthalmology Institute.

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17:28.- Pope Francis is currently making his way through the municipality of Marianao en route to the Nunciature. Many have highlighted that the Pontiff’s trip to Cuba is the most important he has made since becoming Head of the Catholic Church

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17:26.-Rosa Miriam Elizalde highlights the large number of journalists who have interviewed her, wanting to know what makes Cuba so special.

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17:25.- Speaking to the press during his journey to Cuba the Pontiff noted the need to extend a hand and open parish doors to immigrants.

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17:22.-Pope Francis moves people with his humility and sense of humor, noted journalist Rosa Miriam Elizalde, who traveled with the Pontiff from Roma.
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17:21.-"I love the Cuban people a great deal": states Pope Francis to Rosa Miriam Elizalde, Cuban journalist accompanying the Pontiff during his apostolic visit.

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16:47.- The process underway toward the reestablishment of relations between Cuba and the U.S. is an example of the effectiveness of a culture of exchange and dialogue, noted the Pontiff.

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16:47.- Cuba plays an extraordinary role in the meeting of the North and South, East and West. Its natural vocation is as a point of encounter, stated Pope Francis.

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16:46.-The Pontiff recalled that this trip coincides with the centenary of the declaration of Cobre’s Our Lady of Charity as Cuba’s patron saint.

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16:45.-The pope recalls the visits to Cuba of John Paul II and Benedicto XVI.

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16:44.-The Pontiff recalled that the 80th anniversary of Cuba and the Holy see’s uninterrupted relationship is being celebreated.

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16.43.-Pope Francis expressed his sincere, fraternal greetings to Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro.

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16:42.-The Pontiff thanked the Cuban people for their fraternal welcome.

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16:41.-The Pope greeted Cuban authorities and members of the diplomatic corps in Havana.

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16:41.-Raúl emphasized the importance of this meeting between Pope Francis and the Cuban people.

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16:41.-Raúl Castro: Your Holiness, we have thanked you for your support during the talks between the United States and Cuba.

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16:40.-Raúl Castro: The weight of the crisis falls on the third world and minorities do not escape from it.

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16:31.-Raúl Castro recalls that Fidel Castro, in 1992, insisted on the need for sustainable development.

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6:26.-Raúl Castro to the Pope #PapaFranciso: We want future generations to inherit human dignity from us. #ElPapaEnCuba

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16:25.- Raúl Castro to the Pope #PapaFranciso: We have followed your statements with much interest. #ElPapaEnCuba

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16:24.- Raúl Castro to the Pope #PapaFranciso: Our meeting at the Vatican allowed us an opportunity to exchange ideas about important world issues.

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16:19.- Cuba’s national anthem and that of the Vatican state are played to receive the Pope. #PapaFrancisco. #ElPapaEnCuba.

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16:15.-President Raúl Castro Ruz Cardinal Jaime Ortega receive #PapaFrancisco along with several children who present him flowers.

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16:12.- #PapaFrancisco Pope Francis affectionately greets Cuban children. #ElPapaEnCuba.

Ph
P

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16:06.-Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez and Cardinal Jaime Ortega join President Raúl Castro Ruz to receive the Pope.

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16:01.- #PapaFrancisco Pope Francis will be received at José Martí International Airport by President Raúl Castro Ruz

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15:56.- #PapaFrancisco Pope Francis will be accommodated at the apostolic Nunciature in Havana. #Cuba #ElPapaEnCuba.

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15:52.-The Alitalia aircraft with #PapaFrancisco aboard has landed in #Cuba.

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15:50.-During his tour around #Cuba, #PapaFrancisco will utilize three Pope-mobiles designed in #Cuba #ElPapaEnCuba.

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15:35.-Cuban television begins special national coverage of Pope Francis visit to Cuba.

Photo from television

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15:33.-The Pope has an in-flight meeting with journalists invited to travel with the Pontiff on Alitalia 4000. #PapaEnCuba #PapaFrancisco #Cuba pic.twitter.com/l6BUb5g3ji

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15:15.-According to latest reports the Pope’s flight #PapaFrancisco should arrive in #Cuba at 3:49 pm #ElPapaEnCuba.

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5:00.-Cuban families can meet #ElPapaEnCuba, this coming Tuesday, September 22 in the Cathedral #SantiagodeCuba.

Photo: Granma

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14:57.- Pope Francis’ arrival is getting closer! Alitalia flight AZ400, with the Pontiff aboard, is scheduled to land in just 53 minutes.

Photo: Granma

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14:54.- More than 1,000 journalists are covering the Pope’s stay in Cuba.

Photo: Granma

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14:47.- Learn about how the graphic icon for Pope Francis’ apostolic visit to Cuba was developed.

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14:39.- Learn about Pope Francis’ scheduled activities in Cuba and the United States.

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13:43.- Alitalia flight 4000 on which Pope Francis is traveling is only a few hours from Cuba.

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13:40.- Pope Francis’ flight is now scheduled to arrive in Cuba at 3:24 pm, today, Saturday September 19.

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12:32.-Monsignor Aranguren tells the press about information available at #ElPapaEnCuba bit.ly/1OlLJbB #Cuba pic.twitter.com/bYD6xRvQBO

Photo: Granma

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12:00.-Just 3 hours and 29 minutes to go before Pope Francis arrives in Cuba.

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11.47.-Frei Betto: “The Cuban Revolution has taught evangelical values, which are the same as human moral values and are neither “additional” for revolutionaries or for the religious.”

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11:44.-Frei Betto noted Pope Francis’ preaching in favor of pacifism, of peaceful coexistence in the world, reaching out to the poor and boosting high-impact programs to eradicate hunger, poverty and environmental degradation.

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11.35.-Pope Francis is undertaking a revolution within the Catholic Church itself, which is why some, as well as considering him the leading statesman of his time, see him as a strong candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize, stated Frei Betto at the press conference in Havana.

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11:30.- Frei Betto recalled that in the current context of the reestablishment of relations between the U.S. and Cuba, the challenges point toward the need to change attitudes within the U.S. government.

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11:29.-The Brazilian Roman Catholic Priest emphasized the religious syncretism that exists in Cuba, a reality that he believes is very commendable.

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11:26.-Frei Betto highlights the number of Catholics in Brazil, at around 70% of the population.

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11:22.-Frei Betto: "Only two Latin American countries have had the privilege of receiving, in a relatively short period of time (17 years), the visit of the last three Popes: Brazil and Cuba.”

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11.13.-Frei Betto offers a press conference regarding Pope Francis’ visit to Cuba.

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10:55.-Pope Francis has called on people everywhere to work towards realizing the new sustainable development goals “with generosity and courage”. As I discussed with the Pope, this will require challenging all forms of injustice, writes un-secretary-general-writes-regarding-pope-francis-visit-to-the-united-nations

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10:50.-The Pope is now flying over the Atlantic Ocean on route to Cuba.

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10:37.-Everything is up and ready at the press room in Havana’s Hotel Nacional – one of the three installed across the country to provide live coverage of Pope Francis’ visit. A press conference with Frei Betto is scheduled to begin shortly.

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10:34.- President of Argentina Cristina Fernández has arrived in Havana to attend the Holy Mass that Pope Francis will officiate tomorrow morning. She will be received this afternoon by her Cuban counterpart, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz.

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9:47.-The papalflightpassing overthe Azoreson its way toCuba

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08:13.- This is the first time that the Pope will visit Cuba, with the exception of a brief lay-over of one hour on the island, while on route to Argentina, Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, has stated

Pope Francis aboard the plane that will take him to Cuba. 

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08:12.- This tour, which will see the Pope Francis visit the United States as well as Cuba, is his tenth since his inauguration as head of the Catholic Church, on March 13, 2013

The Bishop of Rome will arrive in the Cuban capital at 4.00 p.m. this Saturday. 

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08:10.- Pope Francis is travelling with an entourage that includes Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, and Vatican “Foreign Minister” Monsignor John Gallagher

The Pope leaving Rome. 

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08:03.- At 10:15 local time (4:15 a.m. in Cuba), Alitalia flight AZ4000, in which Pope Francis is travelling to Havana, took off at the Fiumicino International Airport in Rome, thus beginning his visit to Cuba and the United States

Pope Francis’ plane before leaving Rome this morning. 

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