Cubans to Welcome Pope Warmly

Cubans to Welcome Pope Warmly Havana, Mar 26. – Flags, placards and welcoming posters are part of the atmosphere of hospitality to welcome Pope Benedict XVI, who will begin an apostolic visit to Cuba on Monday.

Streets, avenues, public and business facilities, Catholic churches, cars, and houses are full of warm examples for the "Pilgrim of La Caridad del Cobre," a slogan that will accompany second trip a Supreme Pontiff to Cuba, after the one paid by Pope John Paul II in 1998.

A particular atmosphere prevails in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba, some 900 kilometers (559 miles) east of Havana, and in the capital.

The visit coincides with the Jubilee Year for the 400th anniversary of the discovery of the image of the Virgin of La Caridad del Cobre, Cuba's patron saint.

Government and religious authorities have predicted a warm and mass welcome for the the head of State of the Vatican, as part of his 23rd apostolic visit, the second one to Latin America. Before this, the Pope visited Brazil in 2007.

Cubans are waiting for the Pope with affection and respect, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez told reporters some days ago.

The president of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Cuba, Monsignor Dionisio Garcia, expressed his confidence in a welcome "with the human warn that characterizes our people."(Prensa Latina)