A People’s Faith in their Patron Saint

September 11, 2017 |

By Jancel Moreno and Victor Manuel

Procession on the night of September 7 in Santo Domingo, Villa Clara.

HAVANA TIMES — It was 8:30 PM on Thursday September 7th and official evening mass in honor of Cuba’s Patron Saint, Our Lady of Charity, began when bells rang at the Nuestra Senora de los Dolores church, in Santo Domingo, Villa Clara.

Not only in this Villa Clara town, but millions of Cubans who live on our island under her grace and who place their faith in her, ask and thank her for granting favors, lit a candle and maybe placed some sunflowers for the Virgin. Many others did the same but they asked of the African goddess Oshun instead.

On that night with hurricane Irma beginning to attack the Island, there were many Cubans who were praying for their brothers and sisters who had been and would be ravaged by the storm in the coming hours or days. The Virgen of Charity procession through the town of Santo Domingo, Villa Clara, took place while the province was already on Hurricane Alert.

The main streets filled with devotees who prayed and sang to Cuba’s Patron Saint with candles held in their hands. They collectively asked for the health and well-being of their fellow Cubans in the East and more than one did the same especially for Cuba’s future.

After an emotion-filled religious ceremony at the “Nuestra Senora de los Dolores” Catholic Church led by the priest, at approximately 9 PM, the procession began along some of this city’s main streets, taking a similar route to processions in previous years. It stopped on every block so that people could raise up their prayers to the Virgin’s statue. As the statue passed by, many families came out of their homes to worship her and pray for her protection.

On one of its stops the procession reached the Maternal Home, where pregnant women (Catholic or not) had come to receive her blessing and to listen to the Priest’s words.

Then, it went along the main street (Independencia) where the vigil finally finished in Central Park, at the foot of the Church’s doors. Everybody took a minute of silence to pray privately and to ask for her protection in the face of Hurricane Irma’s imminent arrival. The truth is that this September 8th was very different, as people who (even though they don’t believe) would raise up their hands and pray for our Virgen of Charity’s help.

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  • CErmle

    Thank God for freedom of religion in revolutionary Cuba. God be praised.

    • Carlyle MacDuff

      Let us all hope CErmle that Cubans will in the future have freedom in general including freedom of expression and freedom of the media. It is sickening that parents in Cuba can be jailed for three years for teaching their own children in their own homes anything which is deemed contrary to Communism. But I agree with you that freedom of almost anything in so-called “revolutionary Cuba” has to be welcomed! I note that you didn’t thank Raul, but a higher power.

      • CErmle

        Raul is a servant of the higher power, but then again that is not part of your mindset, so you wouldn’t understand.

        • Carlyle MacDuff

          Raul Castro who as you may or may not know CErmle, was educated as a Jesuit, but being a true communist, abandoned religious belief. Fidel Castro another Jesuit, was excommunicated by the Pope in 1962.
          However the thought of either of the Castros even considering that there is a higher power is very amusing. Raul is playing with the idea of re-joining the Catholic Church, but only belief it if it actually happens!
          The thought that Raul is acting as “a servant of the higher power” by repression of the people of Cuba is either a bad joke, or a criticism of that higher power. You choose!
          I understand and detest communism – even if your “higher power” approves it.

          • CErmle

            Spoken like a true Trumper. You made your minders proud today. Unfortunately your mindset is based on your hatred to communism, which you don’t seem to really know anything about. I am not a communist, and I am not a Trumper either.

          • Carlyle MacDuff

            A somewhat pathetic response CErmle.
            Firstly I have in these pages repeatedly criticized Donald J. Trump(f).
            Secondly, I have more knowledge of communism in practice than you even begin to know about.
            Thirdly, my opinions are my own, being an individual, not one subject to the dictation of the Communist ‘faith’ or any other.
            So, in consequence as I am neither a Communist (yes I detest it) or a supporter of Mr. Trump(f) we have those two factors in common.

          • CErmle

            Your criticism of Trump rings hollow. Why aren’t you in Cuba helping out your “relatives” in their time of need? Or aren’t you allowed to return.

          • Carlyle MacDuff

            You CErmle will know when I have obtained a flight when I cease to contribute here. Although you obviously regard your relatives as being appropriately placed in inverted commas, I do not. Mine are both significant and important in my life. It is because I have so many Cuban relatives and friends that I am able to accurately record the views of Cubans. I know from your contributions that you do not have any similar advantage.
            As you beat your communist adherent drum have you noticed that it rings hollow?

          • CErmle

            So that means you can’t get past customs and immigration in Cuba? What do they have on you?