• Papal Journey to Turkey - Welcome Ceremony

Moving ahead with courage and patience

2012-03-31 L’Osservatore Romano

A gift of God. This is how Archbishop Angelo Becciu, Substitute of the Secretariat of State, described the Visit of Benedict XVI to Mexico and Cuba. “Especially for Cuba”, said the Prelate, Apostolic Nuncio to the Caribbean Island from 23 July 2009 to 10 May 2011, in an interview given to our newspaper, “his presence brought about abundant graces and great hope for a better future”.

What do you think of the Cuban leg of the Visit?

What is most striking is that the Pope won over the heart of the Cuban people. This became evident  when crowds flooded the streets to say goodbye to him. In the end, people really seemed serene, as they poured into the streets, where the Papal procession had just passed, to show their sincere affection. It was a nice surprise, a clear sign of how the person and words of Benedict XVI had touched their hearts. We must not forget that many of them were brought up without knowing anything about the Pope. Only recently has television been showing news about the Church. Children in parishes – best case scenario - have heard their pastor speak about the Holy Father. Perhaps they have seen a few photographs, but we definitely cannot say that they know him. In fact, at the beginning the people seemed a little self-conscious, almost constrained. But after having seen the figure of the Pope up close, nothing could stop them. Even though it rained persistently, when the Papal procession drove through the streets of the capital to the airport, they stayed, though soaking wet, to express their love for the father they had found again. And I don't believe that on this occasion the people were obliged to stay and greet the Pontiff. But even if this were true, they showed they were happy to do it.

Mario Ponzi