Cuba

Fidel Castro and Armando Llorente
Since the USA restored diplomatic relations with Cuba in July 2015 and Pope Francis visited the Caribbean island last September, Cuba is fast becoming a popular holiday destination. But some people might be unaware that its controversial former president, Fidel Castro - who celebrated his 90th birthday last week - was educated by the Jesuits.Fidel Castro wasn’t the best student. Known for being a troublemaker, he was taught in two other schools before being sent to study under the Jesuits...
Pope Francis & Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill embrace in Havana, Reuters/Alejandro Ernesto/Pool
Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia embraced each other in Cuba yesterday, describing each other as ‘brothers’ and vowing to work together towards reconciliation, while recognising their differences. The statement signed by the Pope and the Patriarch acknowledged that obstacles and difficulties still remain between the Eastern and Western branches of the Catholic Church, but said their hope was that the meeting “may contribute to the re–establishment of...
Site of pilgrimage: The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Wikipedia Commons
Pope Francis will begin a visit to Mexico at the end of this week, a country which has the second largest Catholic population in the world. The six-day visit will include areas know for migration, poverty, violence, corruption and crime. One of the most symbolic and emotionally-charged points of his pilgrimage will be the celebration of Mass on the Mexico-US border.En route to Mexico, in Cuba on Friday, the Pope will be meeting the Russian Orthodox leader of Moscow and All Russia, Patriarch...
Patriarch Kirill I of Moscow, Wikipedia Commons
Next Friday, an historic meeting will take place between Pope Francis - head of 1.2 billion Roman Catholics across the world - and the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, whose flocks numbers 170 million. This will be the first encounter between the two leaders in almost 1,000 years and will take place in Cuba, regarded as neutral territory.Father Federico Lombardi SJ, director of the Holy See's press office, described the meeting as “an event of extraordinary importance”, since it will be...
Photo of Pope Francis
When Pope John Paul II visited Chile in 1987 he was welcomed as a ‘messenger of life, pilgrim of peace’ – Nathan Stone SJ remembers it well. How did Pope Francis live up to these same accolades on his visit to Cuba and the United States? I was there in April 1987 when Pope John Paul II visited Chile. It was quite the affair. Chile was small, far away and off the beaten track. Whenever an international figure of any stature came to town, it was a big deal, but John Paul was the Vicar of...