Support for San Miguel Arcangel | San Miguel de los Baños, Matanzas, Cuba
Cuba Update From Catholic Extension
We received an update from the Diocese of Matanzas after Hurricane Irma. They seem to be okay, and they told us that the San Miguel de los Banos church was secured prior to the storm and did not sustain any damage as a consequence of the hurricane. In speaking with our Cuban contacts who have driven the island following the hurricane, it looks like the areas hardest hit were the dioceses of Santa Clara and Ciego de Avila (the middle of the island), where Irma was a category 5 when it hit that portion of the island.
Hurricane Irma rode along much of the northern coast of the island until turning north for the Florida keys. We are aware that some Catholic churches were damaged in the dioceses of Holguin, Camaguey, Ciego de Avila, and Santa Clara, all of which cover some portion of the northern coast of Cuba.
One Archbishop (from Camaguey-located in the center of the island) wrote us this morning and told us that in his archdiocese only one small mission chapel was completely destroyed while a half dozen others sustained some damage. He had no electricity but was able to get a generator working to send an email to those of us in his network. He told us that he does not yet have any news from our friends in Matanzas. Presumably their power has also been wiped out, and it will take a while to restore. Judging from the radar, it looks like Pinar del Rio was not in the Hurricane’s path.
Holy Family Catholic Community embarked upon a very unique and exciting Lenten Social Justice Project for 2017.
Catholic Extension Society is supporting the Cuban Church that has been suppressed by Communism. Most of the Catholic churches in Cuba are not safe to inhabit due to neglect and lack of funding since the revolution.
On behalf of Catholic Extension and the community of San Miguel de los Baños, Cuba, THANK YOU for supporting Holy Family’s Lenten Social Justice Project. We raised $95,000 and will have enough funding to complete the renovations on San Miguel Arcangel Church as well as engage in three additional projects in Pinar del Rio, Cuba, on the island’s western side.
The other projects will include:
Las Ovas Chapel Repair
Paso Real de San Diego Chapel Repair
St. Rosendo Cathedral Repair
Today, Cuban-Americans are the third largest nationality represented in the U.S. Hispanic population. Thus, our engagement with Cuba will benefit not only the Church in Cuba, but also the Church in the United States. We will partner with these heroic people who have sustained their faith for the past 60 years.
In January of this year, Catholic Extension arranged an immersion trip to Cuba for Fr. Terry, Ro Geisler and Sue Geegan to meet the faith-filled people of Cuba This trip became possible as a result of the recent opening of the Cuban borders to the United States. Cardinal Cupich was the first person to contact President Obama when the Cuban borders were initially re-opened to the U.S.
Cardinal Cupich was also the first and only bishop to contact his fellow bishop in Miami, Archbishop Wenski, to inquire about our possible involvement with the Cuban Church. We were inspired and touched by the Cuban people, their faith and the needs of the Church to not only thrive but grow. This project is much like the Bible story of creation in terms of being “reNEWed”. ReNEWed relationships, ReNEWed opportunities, some ReNEWed and some deeper spirituality developing in many of the Cuban people we met, and ReNEWed perspectives on life as we appreciate what we have here in the United States and here at Holy Family as compared to the very limited resources available to people in Cuba. Our relationship through Catholic Extension, with the blessing of our Cardinal, Chancellor of Catholic Extension Society, has begun with the Church and people of Cuba.
Now that we’ve completed our project, we’ll post updates about the construction work at all four projects as they become available.