Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel met this Tuesday in Havana with Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, who made a pastoral visit invited by the island’s president and the Catholic hierarchy.
“This is His Eminence’s first visit to the island, where he has been welcomed with hospitality and respect,” said a Cuban television report on the visit.
In the meeting with Díaz-Canel, Dolan was accompanied by the auxiliary bishop of Brooklyn County, New York, Octavio Cisneros, and the president of the Cuban Conference of Catholic Bishops (COCC), Emilio Aranguren. Also present were Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez and the head of the Office of Religious Affairs of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party, Caridad Diego.
The Cuban president and the U.S. Archbishop had already met in New York during Díaz-Canel’s first visit to the United Nations in September 2018, a few months after assuming the post of Head of State, replacing of Raúl Castro.
On the same day, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez also met with Cardinal Dolan, who was accompanied by Cardinal Juan de la Caridad García, Archbishop of Havana, and the president of the Cuban Conference of Catholic Bishops (COCC), Emilio Aranguren, the highest authorities of the Catholic Church on the island.
“A pleasure to meet again in #Havana with His Eminence @CardinalDolan, Archbishop of New York,” the Cuban foreign minister said on his Twitter account next to a photo.
Un placer reencontrarme #LaHabana con Su Eminencia @CardinalDolan, Arzobispo de Nueva York. En encuentro participaron también el Cardenal Juan de la Caridad García Rguez, Arzobispo de La Habana y el Obispo Emilio Aranguren, Pdte de la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de Cuba. pic.twitter.com/2l5KDsr09K
— Bruno Rodríguez P (@BrunoRguezP) February 11, 2020
The U.S. prelate also visited the University of Havana, where he was received by the first deputy rector of that institution, Dionisio Zaldívar, who gave him details about the history, present and main projections of the oldest center of higher education in Cuba.
During his visit to the Havana University Campus, the New York archbishop was in its Aula Magna where he honored Cuban presbyter and intellectual Felix Varela (Havana 1788- Florida, USA 1853), whom he highlighted as a “full patriot and exemplary priest” before the urn where his mortal remains are kept.
Father Varela was the first Cuban to be incardinated in the Archdiocese of New York, where he served as a priest for 30 years, 16 of them as vicar general.
“In New York, he is spoken of as a pedagogue, philosopher, professor, politician and a man of science, but also of faith and an excellent pastor,” said Cardinal Dolan.
NY’s @CardinalDolan stopped by the University of Havana today, met with faculty and stopped to pray by the remains of Cuban-born Fr Felix Varela. He is being considered for canonization pic.twitter.com/z5AsPFmSVc
— Rhina Guidos (@CNS_Rhina) February 11, 2020
Dolan began his stay on the island this Friday in the eastern province of Santiago de Cuba, where he officiated a mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Charity, Cuba’s patron saint.
Then he traveled to the city of Camagüey, in the central part of the country, where he officiated a second mass in the chapel of a home for the elderly.
Since his arrival in Havana this Monday, the prelate has visited the Apostolic Nunciature, the headquarters of Caritas Cuba, the Santovenia and San José homes for the elderly, in which Catholic nuns care for sick elderly persons and retired priests, the former San Carlos y San Ambrosio Seminary, and presided over the mass in the Cuban capital’s Cathedral.
The delegation headed by the Archbishop of New York comprised Bishop Cisneros―born in Cuba―, who chairs the Committee for Latin America of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and three priests and five laypeople.
EFE / OnCuba