I wrote a column titled My Visit to Cuba — An American in Havana about my recent trip to Havana, Cuba.
As a Catholic I was most interested in the state of the Catholic Church in Cuba. While walking and riding a taxi in Havana I noticed dozens of Catholic Churches within walking distance of the Capitol building. While the Capitol building was under renovation, the Catholic Churches, in general, were in a sad state of disrepair on the outside but remained beautiful if not magnificent on the inside. Is this a message from God? Is God alive in Cuba?
Before the June 26th, 1953 Revolution 85% of Cubans were Catholics. Since then the work of the Catholic Church has been replaced by the Communist government. But the Communist government is continually failing its people, so who has stepped into the breach to fill the needs of the most needy, the followers of Jesus.
The God of Abraham and His Son Jesus, have been battling Cuba’s Communist Party for over 50 years.
During my visit to Cuba I noticed many women wearing necklaces with either a Crucifix or a wooden cross. The people still believe, it is their belief that keeps them alive and living with hope. They have the faith that God is testing them and His word and grace will protect them, no matter what they suffer thru in His name.
More than five decades ago, Fidel Castro’s revolution triggered the sweeping seizure of Catholic Church properties in Cuba.
In one expropriation, someone decapitated the statue of Santo Tomás de Villanueva outside the chapel of the Havana university named for the saint. As the Cuban regime turned Villanueva into a trade school, the headless statue became an eerie symbol for a church shorn of influence. Graffiti scarred the walls of the decaying chapel.
“The Villanueva statue has been headless since 1963,” said Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami, who has steered aid to the Cuban Church for years. But the larger body of the Roman Catholic Church in Cuba has endured and, recently, grown stronger, despite the combination of careless neglect and open hostility it has suffered under communism.
Berry noted, “Across the island [of Cuba], bishops, priests, nuns, and lay workers operate Cuba’s de-facto social safety net, which the cash-strapped government, whose revolution was founded on egalitarian principles, cannot deliver for all disabled, elderly, and impoverished Cubans.”
The Sarasota Baptist Church located in Sarasota, Florida is doing its part to bring God back into a godless Cuba. Christians strongly believe in Acts 1:8 which reads:
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
In order to “be my witnesses…to the ends of the earth” the Sarasota Baptist Church sent a mission to Cuba from April 29th to May 6th, 2017. Another Baptist Church, First Sarasota has made it their mission to establish a seminary and now has 60 Baptist congregations in Cuba.
God is not dead in Cuba. Visit a Catholic Church in Cuba to understand.
Pictures taken of the Catholic Church in the Plaza de San Francisco in Havana, Cuba.