Friday, August 9, 2013

Representatives of Church in Cuba and U.S. meet in St. Augustine

Photos by John Pemberton/Diocese of Saint Augustine's website

It all started 15 years ago when a small group of Cuban bishops and priests – from both sides of the Florida Straits – began discussing ways to strengthen the bonds that unite them, to what are now known as “encuentros” or meetings held yearly and include other religious and laity.

And, according to Bishop Arturo Gonzalez of Santa Clara in Cuba, head of the Cuban bishops’ committee on migration and relations with Cubans living outside the island, the purpose of the encuentros is to affirm “the Church is Church and not anything else.”

“These conversations are very fruitful,” said Bishop Gonzalez. “They [Cuban exiles] didn’t leave to forget.”

The encuentros in St. Augustine were held July 31 – Aug. 3, and was hosted by Bishop Felipe Estévez, the Diocese of St. Augustine’s first Cuban-born bishop. Two other Cuban-born bishops working in the U.S. – Bishop Octavio Cisneros, auxiliary bishop of Brooklyn, and Auxiliary Bishop Nelson J. Pérez of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, Long Island, N.Y., also attended along with other priests and religious from Cuba, including laity. (read full text at Diocese of Saint Augustine's website)

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