Archbishop Wenski Returns to Miami With Pilgrims

Wenski had to answer questions from people about why the pope met with Fidel Castro but not the Ladies in White

By Hank Tester
|  Thursday, Mar 29, 2012  |  Updated 11:45 PM EDT
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Archbishop Thomas Wenski has returned from Cuba, where he led a pilgrimage of hundreds of Miami's Catholics to see the pope.

Archbishop Thomas Wenski has returned from Cuba, where he led a pilgrimage of hundreds of Miami's Catholics to see the pope.

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Archbishop Wenski Talks Pope's Trip to Cuba

It has been 14 years since Cuba hosted Pope John Paul II in his historic visit to the Communist island. Now Pope Benedict XVI will travel to the Caribbean nation to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the discovery of the image of Our Lady of Charity, Cuba's patron saint. Although some things have changed since the last Papal visit , the totalitarian government now presided by Raul Castro has not. Archbishop of Miami Thomas Wenski has had a significant role in making this visit happen and has seen some change from when he was there with Pope John Paul II in 1988.

Miami Archbishop Heads to Cuba

More than 300 people headed to Cuba with the Catholic Archdiocese of Miami Monday morning to celebrate Pope Benedict XVI's historic visit to the island. Priests, nuns, pilgrims and others lined up to check in for two charter flights to Santiago de Cuba at Miami International Airport as part of a delegation led by Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski. "We think that this will be a great religious experience and we hope that it brings more faith and more hope to Cuba," Wenski said. "The pope is a part of that future."
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Archbishop Thomas Wenski has returned from Cuba, where he led a pilgrimage of hundreds of Miami's Catholics to see the pope.

While in Havana he held a mass for the group and Miami pilgrims attended the pope's two masses.

"just as we saw the fruits of the Holy Father 14 years ago, the presence of the Holy Father will produce fruit, and I think that it is one of the reasons the people themselves sensed that," Wenski said Thursday.

Wenski said the people of Cuba seemed to have a sense of hope for the future, but he did run into lots of questions about why the pope met with Fidel Castro but not the dissidents like the Ladies in White.

He said the Ladies in White were recieved by the pope's personal represenative in Havana.

"I am sure the pope, through him, is well aware of there concerns and what tthey needed to tell him.

Wenski also summed his vision of Cuba's future.

"A Cuba that is more just, a Cuba in which it's citizens can reconcile among themselves, in which people have the ability to see in their home land a future a future of hope," he said.

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