The Archbishop of Santiago de Cuba, Monsignor García Ibáñez (Guantánamo, 1945), is an engineer from the University of Havana and has been a priest since 1985. Since 2009 he has presided over the Conference of Bishops of Cuba, with whom he recently went to Rome for the visit to the Vatican. ad limina Pope Francis. He assures that the Holy Father "is very close to us" y "very knowledgeable".
- Rafael Miner
There is a lot of noise about Cuba. Especially political. However, the Church continues on its course, and the Cuban bishops were with Pope Francis a few weeks ago during his visit to Cuba. ad limina. Back on the island, Palabra located in Madrid Monsignor Dionisio García Ibáñez, president of the Conference of Cuban Catholic Bishops since 2009, who has received in Cuba, already as bishop, three Popes: St. John Paul II (1998), Benedict XVI (2012) and Francis (2015).
The brief talk revolves around the visit to Rome, and also on aspects that are not usually addressed when talking about Cuba, for example, the faith of the Cuban people.
Monsignor, what has the Pope told them?
-The visit ad limina can be described as very good. We have seen the Pope very prepared, very well informed about the topics we had discussed with him, and very cordial. We have freely raised many concerns, but above all we have informed him even more. The visit began with a spiritual retreat, because it is not just a matter of seeing each other and giving reports. That is what any company does. We have seen him very welcoming, close, as he was with us in his visit to Cuba, in the Sanctuary of the Virgin of the Caridad del Cobre. For us, it is very important to share the experiences in our church with the Pastor of the universal Church.
You referred to the Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre. You also received Benedict XI, as Archbishop of Santiago. And you spoke of the devotion to the Virgin of the people of Cuba with beautiful words.
-Yes, I told her that this little image before which she came on pilgrimage has accompanied us for 400 years. Catholics and non-Catholics, believers and non-believers, come to her shrine because in her we discover God's love for us, or because we discover her presence since the origins of our nation.
Can you tell us about the faith of the Cuban people?
-The Cuban people is a believing people. It can be said that all the years we had strong limitations for the life of the Church, for the practice of faith, did not put an end to their religiosity....