Cachita, Francis and Pinar del Rio / 14ymedio, Juan Carlos Fernandez

Taking the road to Coloma. (Juan Carlos Fernandez)
Taking the road to Coloma. (Juan Carlos Fernandez)

14ymedio, Juan Carlos Fernandez, Pinar del Rio, 10 September 2015 — On Tuesday, the Virgin of Charity – Cachita, as we call her – again traveled the streets of the city of Pinar del Río. The procession was led by Bishop Jorge Enrique Serpa and the parish priests of the city. With the support of the Provincial Concert Band and a huge Cuban flag unfurled at the head of the crowd, the procession started in the parish dedicated to the Virgin in San Juan Strett, and proceeded to the Cathedral where Mass is celebrated.

The difference this year has been marked by the approach of the visit of Pope Francis and his connection to the restoration of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States. Perhaps encouraged by these novelties, a greater number of Pinareños attended the festivities for Cuba’s patron saint on Tuesday.

Anselmo, approaching his eightieth birthday, was one of those who would not miss the moment. “I’m here because the Virgin heard our prayers and gave us a pope who has facilitated what many Cubans wanted,” he told anyone who would listen. “Being on good terms with the United States can be a new beginning,” he said.

The speeches and Masses offered for the Bishop of Rome during his visits to Bolivia, Paraguay and Brazil have also raised expectations about the words he will express in Cuba. Francis has increased in many hopes for change and renewal, not only within the Church but also in the social dimension. Pinareños also await those winds of change that surround him.