Miami Gathered to Watch Pope Benedict's Historic Havana Mass

Pope viewings throughout South Florida Wednesday

By Brian Hamacher, Hank Tester and Lisa Orkin Emmanuel
|  Wednesday, Mar 28, 2012  |  Updated 2:28 PM EDT
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Miami Catholics Watch Pope's Cuba Visit From Afar

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Pope Benedict XVI and Cuban President Raul Castro at the Consejos de Estado.

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Miamians Gather to Watch Pope's Cuba Mass

Miamians gather at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Charity to watch a broadcast of Pope Benedict XVI's mass in Cuba.

Miami Catholics Watch Pope's Cuba Visit From Afar

The pope arrived in Havana on Tuesday, his second day in Cuba in efforts to reconcile relations and improve the role of the Catholic Church.
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Miami's Cuban Catholics gathered Wednesday morning to watch Pope Benedict XVI's historic mass in Havana.

More than 150 people gathered at the Ermita Caridad shrine in Coconut Grove on Wednesday to watch on a projection screen. They were glad the pope was there.  They said they were happy to hear words like "Liberty," "Change" and "Freedom."

But they said they feel the Catholic Church should do more for individual rights.

"The word of God will prevail for Cuba," said Luisa Sanchez, who was at the church to watch the mass.

Students at several local Catholic schools will also be watching the Pope's mass.

The pope arrived in Havana on Tuesday for the second half of his 3-day trip to Cuba.

"It must be said with joy that in Cuba steps have been taken to enable the Church to carry out her essential mission of expressing her faith openly and publicly. Nonetheless, this must continue forwards, and I wish to encourage the country´s Government to strengthen waht has already been achieved and advance along this path of genuine service to the true good of Cuban society as a whole," the pope said during the Homily, according to an official translation.

On Wednesday the pontiff was meeting with Fidel Castro. A day before he met with Raul Castro and Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski delivered a sermon in Spanish to a packed audience of more than 300 at the Cathedral in Havana.

"Cuba and the world need change, but this will occur only if each one is in position tgo seek the truth and chooses the way of love, sowing reconciliation and fraternity," the pope said.

Miami residents applauded his meeting with Castro.

"It's good the Raul talked to the pope," said Jaime Ruiz in Miami.

According to The Miami Herald, Wenski was critical of Marxism and urged the citizens to be "protagonist of their own future," the newspaper reported.

Wenski said the pope and the Roman Catholic Church in Cuba desire a political evolution that provides dignity to all Cubans, who have been ruled since 1959 by brothers Fidel and Raul Castro.

"The pope and the Cuban Church want a transition that is dignified for the human being, dignified for the Cuban," Wenski said. "The church wants a soft landing...and a future of hope."

Benedict's Cuba farewell was scheduled for around 5:30 p.m.

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