VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis was scheduled to meet Cuban President Raul Castro at the Vatican May 10, less than five months ahead of the pontiff’s visit to the island nation.
The meeting between the pope and Castro will take place “in a strictly private manner” in the study of the Paul VI audience hall, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said May 5.
In a statement, Father Lombardi also recalled that Castro “publicly thanked the pope for his role in fostering the rapprochement” between Cuba and the United States.
In December, Castro and U.S. President Barack Obama announced that their nations were working toward re-establishing official diplomatic relations. Both leaders credited Pope Francis with helping to secure the deal through his letter-writing and by hosting a secret meeting at the Vatican between Cuban and U.S. representatives last fall.
The pope is expected to travel to Cuba before his three-city tour of the United States Sept. 22-27. Though the precise dates and itinerary of his Cuban visit have yet to be issued, it would be the second visit of a pope to Cuba in three years; Pope Benedict XVI visited in 2012.
Visiting Cuba and the U.S. on the same trip signals that Pope Francis’ continued interest in the normalization of relations between the two countries.
The United States first imposed a trade embargo on Cuba in 1960 in response to the human rights abuses that followed the Marxist revolution that put Fidel Castro in power the previous year. The embargo was expanded in subsequent years.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
PREVIOUS: Pope: Marriage is brave promise to love like Jesus, not showy ceremony
NEXT: U.S. priest lives with ‘suffering Christ’ at U.N. base in South Sudan
Share this story