Vatican City, 18 September 2015 (VIS) – In view of his imminent trip to Cuba, the Pope has sent a message to the country, to be broadcast on television at 8.30 p.m. local time (2.30 in Rome), the full text of which is reproduced below:
“There are only a few days remaining before my trip to Cuba. For this reason, I wish to send a fraternal greeting before we meet in person. I will visit you to share faith and hope, so that we can strengthen each other in following Jesus. It is very good for me and of great help to me to think of your faithfulness to the Lord, of the spirit in which you face everyday difficulties, of the love with which you help and support each other on the path of life. Thank you for this very valuable witness.
For my part, I wish to convey a very simple message, but one that I think is important and necessary. Jesus loves you very much. Jesus loves you truly. And He always carries you in His heart; He knows better than anyone what each person needs, what he yearns for, his deepest desire; He knows our heart. He never abandons anyone; when we do not behave as He would hope, He is always ready to welcome us, to console us, to give us new hope, a new chance, a new life. He is always there.
I know that you are preparing for this visit with a prayer. I thank you infinitely. We need to pray, we need prayer, this contact with Jesus and Mary. And it gives me great joy to know that, following the advice of my brother bishops of Cuba, you are repeating several times a day the prayer we learned as children. Sacred Heart of Jesus, make my heart like yours. It is beautiful to have a heart like Jesus', so as to know how to love like Him, to forgive, to give hope and to accompany.
I wish to be among you as a missionary of God's mercy and tenderness, but allow me to encourage you too to be missionaries of God's infinite love. May no-one lack the witness of our faith and our love. May all the world know that God always forgives, that God always stays by our side, that God loves us.
I will go to the Shrine of Our Lady of Cobre as a pilgrim, as a child who looks forward to arriving at his mother's house. To her I entrust this trip and also all Cubans. And please, I ask you to pray for me. May Jesus bless you and the Holy Virgin care for you. Thank you”.