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Tuesday, December 20, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 20 DEC 2011 (VIS) - Cuba is preparing to greet Benedict XVI "with affection and respect", and President Raul Castro has welcomed "with satisfaction" the official announcement of the Pope's visit to the country, according to an official note released on Cuban media today. The visit is due to take place at the end of March 2012.

  On Sunday 18 December, the Cuban president met with a Holy See delegation to discuss preparations for the forthcoming visit, which the Holy Father himself announced during a Mass on 12 December for the Solemnity of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patron of Latin America, and for the two hundredth anniversary of the independence of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. During the meeting "the excellent relations between Cuba and the Holy See were highlighted, and certain details of the Pope's visit were examined".

  Benedict XVI's visit, his second to Latin America following his trip to Brazil in 2007, will coincide initiatives organised by the local episcopate to celebrate the four hundredth anniversary of the discovery of the image of "Nuestra Senora de la Caridad del Cobre", patron of the island. One of these initiatives is a Marian Jubilee Year, which will begin on 7 January 2012 and end on 5 January 2013.
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