'What should unite us all is our desire to pray for the good of Cuba,' Archbishop Wenski says

Wenski says Fidel Castro must stand before God

MIAMI – For some Cuban exiles, Saturday night’s Mass at La Ermita de la Caridad was cathartic.

It was a moment to reconcile their Catholic faith with their hatred toward Fidel Castro,  the longtime communist Cuban leader, who imprisoned and killed some of their family members and friends.

"I'm very proud to be here tonight and proud of the Cuban people and the community of Miami," Josue Suarez, a Cuban exile, said.

Ermita is where Cuban-Americans give thanks, where the exile community comes to pray and where former worshippers are remembered.

"It represents a symbol of Cuban identity both in Cuba and in exile. Our Lady of Charity defines the Cuban identity," Archbishop  Thomas Wenski said. "Without hope there is no future and without God there is no hope." 

During the Mass, Wenski touched on themes of hope and the future of Cuba. He said the country’s youth now carry the weight of the country’s future on their shoulders as the Caribbean island nation turns a page.

"There is certainly a lot of emotions as we've seen with the death of Fidel Castro, but beyond all emotions, what should unite us all is our desire to pray for the good of Cuba and a future of hope for the Cuban people," he said.

Wenski mentioned Castro, who died at age 90, by name once during the Mass and said that like every man, Castro’s time was up and that he must now stand before God.

He also touched on Pope Francis’ message of love.

The pope on Saturday expressed sadness over Castro’s death and prayed for a man who was a professed atheist.