WASHINGTON—Cuban-American Bishop Octavio Cisneros, an auxiliary bishop of Brooklyn, New York, will represent the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in Mexico during the visit of Pope Benedict XVI. Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, USCCB president, appointed Bishop Cisneros to represent the bishops’ conference at the Apostolic Mass that Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate in Leon, Guanajuato, during the pope’s Apostolic Visit to Mexico and Cuba, March 25-27.
Bishop Cisneros, a member of the USCCB Subcommittee for the Church in Latin America, along with Bishop Gerald Kicanas, chairman of Catholic Relief Services, Bishop Richard Pates, chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace, and Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, also a member of the USCCB Subcommittee for the Church in Latin America, will be among other U.S. bishops traveling to Cuba to greet Pope Benedict.
The pope will celebrate an open-air Mass in Leon, Mexico the morning of March 25 at Foro Bicentenario, near the national monument to Christ the King on the mountaintop of Cerro del Cubilete. On the same day, the pope will also hold an evening meeting in the Cathedral of Leon with the bishops of Mexico and representatives of bishops’ conferences of the American Continent.
“It will be a joy to represent the Catholic bishops of the United States as the Holy Father visits Mexico,” said Bishop Cisneros. “We pray that the Holy Father’s visit to Mexico and Cuba brings peace, reconciliation, and many blessings to both countries.”
In Cuba the pope will celebrate Masses in Santiago and Havana, and will visit the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Charity, in the mining town of El Cobre, to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the discovery of her statue in the Bay of Nipe.
Bishop Elizondo, who is in the delegation going to Cuba, noted the importance of the occasion. “The Holy Father’s apostolic visit to Cuba will be an historic moment as the people of Cuba renew their faith in Christ and celebrate that faith with Catholics around the world,” Bishop Elizondo said.
People of faith in the United States can follow the pope’s pilgrimage to Mexico and Cuba and related news and content, in English and Spanish, through the USCCB website pages dedicated to the apostolic journey at www.usccb.org.
During the visit Catholic News Service (CNS) reporters will be utilizing social media, also in English and Spanish. People can follow them at twitter.com/catholicnewssvc or www.facebook.com/CatholicNewsService. USCCB will also be following the event on its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/usccb. CNS’ full coverage is also available at http://www.usccb.org/about/leadership/holy-see/pope-benedict-xvi/2012-apostolic-journey-mexico-cuba.cfm.
The USCCB Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America helps fund numerous pastoral programs throughout Latin America and the Caribbean region. The USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace shapes USCCB policy on international issues. More information on both can be found at www.usccb.org; search “Church in Latin America” and “International Justice and Peace.”
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