14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 29 July 2016 – A message from Pope Francis aimed at young Cubans raised spirits Thursday in celebrations that took place in Havana simultaneously with World Youth Day held in Krakow, Poland. “Young Cubans: open yourselves to great things! Do not be afraid!” the Bishop of Rome told them in a few words that were projected on a large screen in front of more than a thousand Catholics throughout the island.
Havana’s Cathedral Square, from early Thursday morning, displayed a panorama completely different from usual. Although there was no lack of tourists, performers and, of course, the police, there were around 1,300 young Catholics from all provinces who met “in sync with Krakow,” according to the organizers.
During the early afternoon, the delegations made their cultural and pastoral presentations. The Santiago delegation accompanied the chorus of the “first diocese in Havana bringing the message of Charity”with percussion instruments. Those from Camagüey presented a choreographed dance, while those from Bayamo, Pinar del Rio and participants from every corner of the island made an effort to leave their mark on the celebration.
Among the more than 60 young people from Camagüey who attended the meeting was Dariel Hernandez, coordinator of the youth ministry in that diocese. “We come having prepared for this event for almost a year to be in sync with what is happening right now in Poland with Pope Francis. We have raised money to cover the cost of these activities,” he explained to 14ymedio.
Melisa Boga, is a second year student of Foreign Languages at the University of Cienfuegos. “We are 84 from our province; I hope and desire to know the reality of the other young people who have come here,” she said.
Around 9:00 PM, a message to young Cubans sent by Pope Francis specifically for the occasion was broadcast, interrupted with cheers and shouts of approval.
The pontiff recalled the legacy of Father Felix Varela when he said, “You are the sweet hope of the nation.” And declared, “To be carriers of hope you need not to lose the ability to dream,” and said that someone who “doesn’t have the capacity to dream is already retired.”
“Young Cubans: open yourselves to great things! Do not be afraid!” continued Francis, while the crowd cheered and applauded. ” Dream that with you, the world can be different! Dream that Cuba, with you, can be different, and better every day. Do not give up!” he said.
“It is not necessary for us all to think in the same way. No, everyone has to join in the ‘social friendship,’ even with those who think in a different way. But we all have something in common: the wish to dream, and this love for the homeland,” said the Pope Francis. The Pope invited young Catholics to “to build bridges, to work together with the word, with the desire, with the heart.”