Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Cristina Cabrera Jarro
Photography: CRISTINA CABRERA JARRO | FC
MIAMI | The story of Our Lady of Charity tells how three laborers found her image floating in the Bay of Nipe, off the coast of Cuba, after days of stormy weather. This year, stormy weather, in the form of Hurricane Irma, forced the regularly scheduled celebration of her feast day, September 8, to be postponed for the first time.
Even with the month-long delay, and still a bit of rain, more than 1,000 devotees — including members of lay movements, school students, priests and religious — gathered at the Watsco Center on the University of Miami campus Oct. 12 to celebrate Cuba’s patroness.
“She, small and quiet, but firm and tenacious, has kept alive the fire of a faith that none of the storms that have battered the Cuban people have been able to extinguish,” said Archbishop Thomas Wenski in a letter to attendees at the celebration.
Archbishop Wenski celebrated the Mass accompanied by several bishops and priests, among them the new rector of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Charity, Father Fernando Hería, and Bishop-designate Enrique Delgado, whose appointment as auxiliary bishop of Miami had been announced that very morning.
While Our Lady of Charity remains an iconic symbol for the Cuban community, she is also an icon for exiles and immigrants. The devastation caused by Hurricane Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands has caused hundreds to evacuate to the U.S. mainland. For those who remain behind, a special collection was taken at up at the Mass to aid with hurricane relief. It served as a reminder that, as long as Mary is present, there will always be charity.