Prayers for Fidel

Campaign News | Wednesday, 9 August 2006

BY JOEL MAYOR LORAN-Granma daily staff writer-

EVERYONE had their shared reasons. They come from the most distinct churches. But what they have in common are wishes for the president’s recovery. “We are not asking God that Fidel should live for ever, but that he will be where he is most useful for as long as possible,” they affirmed in response to the call from the Ecumenical Section in Defense of Humanity.

The Holy Trinity Cathedral, Episcopal Church of Cuba, was the venue for prayers and intercession for the health of the leader of the Revolution, attended by more than 300 people, including Caridad Diego, head of the Office of Attention to Religious Affairs of the Central Committee, as well as people from Belgium, Brazil and Chile.

Juan Ramón de la Paz, the pastor hosting the prayer meeting, affirmed that Cuban religious leaders do not feel distant from Fidel, but see him as a friend and father of the great family of this nation. At the same time, he stated that the plans of the U.S. government cannot be carried out, because the people are united.

Meanwhile, Reinerio Arce, of the Evangelical Seminary of Theology in Matanzas, expressed his hopes for Fidel’s prompt recovery to continue leading Cuba and the construction of a better society of justice, love and peace.

Dr. Miriam Ortego, Latin American and Caribbean president of the World Council of Churches, stated that there are various people on the continent praying alongside the Cubans, because the historical project undertaken by Fidel has been the only one to address the people around it, illiteracy, pain and hunger. “Is that not what the gospel demands of us?” she asked.

“We are praying for the man who continues inspiring Latin America to search for an alternative to capitalism, which is an instrument of death,” affirmed the Reverend Raúl Suárez, director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Center, and reiterated that believers would never accept a military intervention. Meanwhile, the Presbyterian pastor Sergio Arce ended the meeting with a blessing for the president.

The various speeches were full of emotion. However, the nave was especially moved by the poem of Daisy Rojas, from the Martin Luther King Center: “For those who celebrate and would procure your death/There are rules that exist to protect you./ I would like to ignore them, to read you these verses/ to stroke your forehead/ and even give you a kiss./ Let the tenderness of so many who say they love you/and who know that there is no death/capable of eliminating you/flow from my lips.”

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