“With this relic, to be placed in the altar of the Barajagua Temple”, she said, “the Teresian Association is offering to the Diocese of Holguin its charism, for the life of the Church”.
May Catholics were present at the celebration in the Cathedral Church of Holguín, on February 16th for a Mass presided by the Bishop. The readings proclaimed were those of the mas of St. Pedro Poveda. Minutes before all watched a video about the Barajagua Temple, still under construction, where the relic of the priest-martyr of the XX century will be placed, when its altar is consecrated.
Presiding in the Cathedral was the image of Our Lady of Charity belonging to this temple. It was same one that presided during the Sept 21st Mass of Pope Francis in Holguín.
Barajagua is the place where image of Our Lady of Charity was first venerated, shortly after it was discovered floating in the waters of the Bay of Nipe, in 1612, an area located in the northern coast of the Diocese of Holguin. Later on the image of the Patroness of Cuba was taken south to El Cobre, in Santiago de Cuba, were it is now venerate in a National Shrine.
In his homily, bishop Aranguren commented about the readings of the Mass, texts that spoke of vocation, witness and the invitation to be salt of the earth and light of the world.
“What can we do if the salt stays in the salt shaker?” He asked. “Nothing. What can be done if a candle is kept in a drawer? Nothing”.
He explained that both items, together with the leaven that Jesus mentions in his gospels, are meant to be self-giving, action and being used.
“This is why the Lord called Pedro Poveda and placed is Word hi his mouth. Poveda like St. Paul offered his life as a sacrifice and with his martyrdom followed in the steps of Jesus”.
St. PedroPoveda is the founder of the international group known as Teresian Association, of Pontifical Right. Its members are present in 30 countries. In 1911 Father Poveda was a Canon in the Shrine of Covadonga, northern Spain and it was there that he conceived the idea of joining and forming the educators that would teach in the public schools, then beginning in Spain. His movement came to be known as the Academies of St. Teresa and later on this movement became a Catholic international association that received canonical approval in 1924.
Since 2010 several members of this Association have been offering their professional knowhow to the Diocese, in support of the evangelization work with professional groups.
In his words during the homily, Bishop Aranguren recalled that the Church in Cuba is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Encuentro Nacional Eclesial Cubano (ENEC). That national meeting took place after 25 years of life under a system of government that marked a socialist-atheist trend in the Island, causing a substantial diminishing in the practice of religious faith among Cubans.
For the Bishop, 1986 was the beginning of new era for Catholics. The Church in Cuba made a commitment to be: incarnated, prayerful and missionary. Catholics were invited to go out of the temples and to witness their faith with their lives.
“Now we are living another moment, another situation”, he said. “The evangelizing mission is not just our personal witness. We must go further into the transformation of society, because the laity must live their vocation in the world: in the family, in their work or study, in their professional and academic life”.
It is in this historical context”, he said “in this here and now, that the Teresian Association is offering the charism that the Holy Spirit inspired to Pedro Poveda”, he asserted.
“The laity cannot act in the world unless it is well prepared,” he said. “It is necessary for the Church to prepare its laity and to accompany those who are to live their vocation in the world. Thank you, Teresian Association, for deciding to be present in the Church of Holguín and therefore present in Cuba”.
He prayed so that the “the blood of the martyr, St. Pedro Poveda may be seed of new servants of Christ in our communities and, in the same way that the image of Our Lady of Charity took roots in Barajagua in order to stay in Cuba, so as well the relic of Poveda and of is Work, the Teresian Association, may take root in many Cuban hearts.”
Maite Uribe was visiting the Island in order to know first hand the evangelizing work of members of the TA on the Diocese. At the end of the Mass in the Cathedral, she presented the relic of Poveda to the Bishop and addressed a few words to those present. She recalled the Marian devotion of Poveda, in Guadix, Southern Spain, as a young priest, where from 1903 to 1905 he evangelized the cave dwellers and created for them a school around the shrine of Our Lady of Grace.
She also recalled his work in Covadonga, the Marian spirituality of the T.A. and the close relationship of that Marian Shrine with the immigrants that took this devotion to Cuba.
Recalling that Cuba has celebrated in 2012 the 400 anniversary of the finding of the image of their Patroness, she repeated the phrase known by all: To Jesus through Mary: Charity unites us”.
The Bishop presented to her and to Antonia Ruiberriz, U.S.A. Delegate of the TA, the commemorative medal of the recent visit of Pope Francis to Cuba.
Araceli Cantero Guibert. In Holguin, Cuba