Pope Benedict Visits Cuba
This stamp sheet commemorates Pope Benedict’s 85th birthday and his trip to Cuba. The four stamps picture different parts of his visit including meeting Fidel and Raul Castro and saying mass in Santiago.
In March 2012, Pope Benedict XVI visited Cuba, a nation that has restricted visitors and its citizens’ freedom of religion. He arrived in Cuba on Monday, March 26, 2012, and was greeted by President Raul Castro. Benedict called himself a “pilgrim of charity” on this trip, the first time a Pope had visited Cuba in 14 years. In his speech at the airport, he encouraged Cubans to have a “more open society...which better reflects the goodness of God.”
An open-air Mass was held in Santiago de Cuba, the second-largest city and headquarters of Fidel Castro’s revolution. An estimated 200,000 people attended the service, including school groups, members of the Communist Party, and visitors from Miami, Florida. The Pope encouraged listeners to “reinvigorate” their faith.
On the final day of the Pope’s trip, he held a Mass in Revolution Plaza in the capital of Havana. During his sermon, he made reference to those who have been denied their freedom, referring to political prisoners. He praised Cuba for the small steps toward freedom of worship that have allowed the church to “carry out its mission.”