Foreign tourists consider Cuba – the island stated in the Caribbean – a holiday paradise. But the economy in the country, which has been ruled by socialists for decades, has been in a very poor state for years, and the Church has also suffered. The majority of Cuba’s 11.5 million inhabitants live in poverty. Lack of prospects and growing despair are omnipresent. Hundreds of thousands already live abroad. ACN will not abandon the Church in Cuba in this crisis.
Due to the economic crisis and political stalemate, hundreds of clergy and lay people sharply criticised Cuba’s communist state and social system at the beginning of February 2021 and called for a fundamental renewal. In their appeal, they expressed their hope for a “national dialogue leading to political change”.
However, most Cubans have long since given up faith in their life improving. The pandemic has further aggravated the situation. Many lack the most basic necessities. This makes it all the more important for the Church to proclaim the faith and work for those in need, so that the faithful feel supported and are able to draw new courage.
Most Cuban families cannot afford what is necessary for a dignified life.
Sister Maria Isabel
However, the Church in Cuba faces great problems in fulfilling its apostolate, as well as in pastoral care. Although about 70% of the inhabitants are baptised, only very few actively participate in Church life. The Archbishop of Santiago estimates that only about 1% of those baptised attend Holy Mass. ACN is supporting the Church in Cuba so that it can fulfil its mission under these difficult conditions. In the year under review, it supported the training of priests, for example, as well as the renovation of churches and the repair of vehicles. In addition, numerous sisters regularly receive material support.
In Cuba, the sisters of the Congregation of the “Servants of Mary” primarily devote themselves to caring for the sick in hospitals and to home care services. In addition, more than 30 desperate people, including those with no income, substance abuse problems and mental health issues, ask for help in the convent every day. The pandemic has made the sisters’ work even more difficult. Precautions are necessary to protect the patients and the sisters themselves from infection. ACN regularly supports the sisters so that they can continue to help those who depend on their assistance.