When the Pope John Paul II came to Cuba, for the one and only time, in January 1998, I was almost a child. I remember him hunched by age and using a walking stick with one hand opened to bless everyone. I did not go to his masses and public speeches, but I followed him through the Cuban radio and television at home.
The news about the 81st international trip of the Pope, of Polish origin, was a very expected event. The island hosted the top authority of the Catholic Church in the world while the Cubans were living through difficult times and facing hard tests during the so-called the Special Period (1990-1999).
The national and foreign media echoed the apostolic visit. I followed most of the news broadcasts since it seemed to mean a lot for the adults.
I remember all above the biggest and moving mass officiated by the Pope. The ceremony was broadcast live. On January 25, the "José Martí" Revolution Square in Havana, welcomed more than a million people -Cubans and foreigners- at the Sunday mass.
The Revolution square, a most notable place, where Cubans have met hundreds of times to support our homeland, turned into an outdoor temple. The image of the Caridad del Cobre virgin, prevailed over that event. Among many other cheers, I remember one in particular: "Juan Pablo II, brother, now you're a Cuban." Our Commander in Chief Fidel Castro was also there.
Over 14 years ago, I knew just a little about verses and other Bible studies, but the need to recall this event, made me to do some research. According to some web sites and some Catholics, that morning, the Word was focused on the theme related to the message of Christ through the commitment of the new evangelization. In general, the press covered this visit and published some information about it.
A few weeks ago, the current Pope Benedict XVI announced his arrival in Cuba from March 26 to 28. When I heard the news, the rumor was already going around. The press like Granma newspaper also published the information to confirm.
The media will echo once again about the event. I do not play anymore as I did when I was a child, while journalists report the information. In fact, I have decided to write this chronicle while expecting the visit of the Pope Benedict XVI, the second Pope to arrive on the island.