Growing Faith Communities in Cuba
“For the first time in 60 years, Cuban Catholics are able to rebuild churches where they can gather in faith and create communities of compassion and hope.”
Fr. Jack Wall, President, Catholic Extension
With our Lenten Almsgiving this year, the St. Anne Catholic Community joins with Catholic Extension in their commitment to bring hope and dignity to the people of Cuba—especially to children like this young boy. While we don’t know his name, his smile and the sparkle in his eyes speak to the energy of emerging faith communities throughout a nation that has long endured hardship and heartache.
Catholic Extension, believing that vibrant faith communities can transform individuals, families and society, has launched a three-year initiative to build or restore 100 churches throughout Cuba. More than 20 projects have already been completed. St. Anne joins Catholic Extension in this effort and will work on two churches in the Diocese of Bayamo.
The Cuba Initiative
The Church is presented with an historic opportunity in Cuba. The government has a new openness toward the Church and continues to return previously confiscated churches to their dioceses. And, for the first time since 1959, land is being designated for new construction. Simultaneously, diplomatic relations with the United States are somewhat improved, allowing American organizations to provide assistance.
The timing is critical for Cubans, who face a dire situation in practicing their faith. Church buildings stand empty following a long prohibition on the practice of faith. Two generations have been unchurched. Many buildings have fallen into terrible disrepair and are not habitable.
11 million inhabitants
80% of Cubans are Catholic
2,300 mission home chapels
585 religious sisters
Despite church building being in shambles, the flame of faith has been kept alive by devoted Catholics who have built home chapel (Casas de Mission) in which to meet and pray together. This remnant is encouraged and re-energized by recent events and the role that Catholic Extension is playing to help them rebuild.
St. Anne Almsgiving will be used to help two parish communities in the Diocese of Bayamo (inset on facing page). Funds will be used to rebuild the church above, Santos Tomas de Aquino de Campechuela located on the coast. This is a large parish that currently meets in garages and under awnings to celebrate Mass.
The second is the parish community of Catedral del Santisimo Salvador de Bayamo that wishes to purchase a home so that it can be used as a chapel to celebrate Mass, like the one shown below. St. Anne will help make this possible with parishioner support.
St. Anne Almsgiving 2019 Goal = $40,000
The following lists give you an idea of how St. Anne almsgiving will be spent. It represents liturgical supplies necessary for Masses and catechetical programs
|Repairs to the Cathedral Roof||$2,500|
|One quarter of a new altar||$1,000|
|Vestments and altar linens||$ 800|
|Church pew||$ 600|
|Catechism materials||$ 250|
|Faith formation classes for adults||$ 100|
|New Lectionary||$ 80|
|Send a teen to a retreat||$ 65|
|Supplies for children’s craft workshops||$ 50|
|Bag of groceries for a parish family||$ 35|
|Hammer and nails||$ 25|
|Mass Supplies||$ 20|
|Soccer ball for youth group||$ 15|
Giving Your Alms
- Discuss what the giving of alms really means for each member of your household. If you are part of a small group, think about doing something together. Perhaps you might set a goal and put aside something each week.
- Read about the history of Cuba. Imagine being denied the ability to practice your faith and watching your churches fall into disrepair. The internet and library are great resources. Copies of Extension, the quarterly publication of Catholic Extension can be found on the table in the Gathering Space. Remember that our St. Anne Lenten almsgiving traditionally benefits those in areas of great need here in the United States and in the developing world just as Project Hope and the Sharing Board work locally and within the Archdiocese.
- Think about the needs of the Cuban people. Use the list above.
- Decide if you want to give something each week or at the end of Lent.
- Almsgiving donations can be made throughout Lent. At each weekend Mass beginning March 16/17th a container will be placed on the table in the Gathering Space. This will be emptied at the beginning and end of each Mass.
- Checks can be made out to St. Anne Catholic Community. In the memo line, please write Catholic Extension.