Having a group meeting with Pope Francis was not like attending a lecture, but it was a moment of communion and sharing among friends and shepherds, a Cuban archbishop said.
“When people call it an audience, it sounds like we’re there only to listen, but this was a sharing among shepherds; a meeting of bishops – the apostles that are in Cuba – and Peter,” Archbishop Dionisio Garcia Ibanez of Santiago, president of the Cuban bishops’ conference, told Catholic News Service on 4th May.
Pope Francis met with the 13 prelates from the Caribbean island nation earlier that day during the ‘ad limina’ visit that bishops are required to make to the Vatican.
Archbishop Garcia said the pope listened intently as well as offered advice on the challenges facing the nearly 6 million Catholics in Cuba.
Although the problems “are common in many churches,” Archbishop Garcia said, they “manifest in Cuba in a unique way.”
“It is a poor Church and we need material help. But more than anything, we need missionaries, we need priests, religious men and women. The number of missionaries does not reach the demand of people who come to the Church and the evangelisation efforts we have,” he said.
Picture: Pope Francis poses with Cuban bishops during their ‘ad limina’ visit to the Vatican on 4th May. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano).