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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Fasting for a free Cuba during Pope Francis's visit to the island.

Do not trust in princes, In mortal man, in whom there is no salvation. - Psalm 146:3

 The Free Cuba Foundation is calling on people of good will to join us in fasting and prayer during the visit of Pope Francis to Cuba beginning with his arrival on September 19, 2015 at 4:00pm and ending on September 22, 2015 at 12:30pm.

Archbishop Thomas Wenski asked the South Florida community at the end of the Solemn Mass on the Feast Day for Our Lady of Charity on September 8, 2015 to prepare for Pope Francis’s visit to Cuba with a novena(nine days of prayer) to the Mother of God under her title of “Desatanudos” (Undoer of Knots). Inspired by this call to prayer and reflection we will also be praying and fasting for a free Cuba and for Pope Francis to have a successful visit to the island. The following is a prayer to aid in fasting taken from Catholic Online:
 Hanging as a vine upon the Wood,
O Christ our Saviour,
Thou hast made the ends of the earth
to drink from the wine of incorruption.
Therefore do I cry aloud:
I am darkened always by the hateful drunkenness of sin;
Give me to drink from the sweet wine of true compunction,
and grant me now the strength, O Saviour,
to fast from sensual pleasures,
for Thou art good and lovest mankind.
- St. Joseph Studite, Lenten Triodion
This fast is being done to pray for the nonviolent democratic resistance in Cuba, that their demand for a general amnesty for all political prisoners be granted, that the systematic violation of human rights be ended, that a democratic transition and an authentic national reconciliation take place. Please join us by saying the following prayers to prepare ourselves spiritually and to pray for Cuba's prisoners of conscience. To further prepare ourselves spiritually we will pray the prayer of St Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Presently there are at least 71 political prisoners that we know of in Cuba and no doubt countless more whose names remain unknown. The following prayer taken from St. Peter's Church, Fairwater is for them:

Prayers for Prisoners of Conscience

Let us pray for the tortured, 
for prisoners of conscience,
people imprisoned without a just trial,
for the innocent who have been swept away
from family and community in raids at dead of night. 
Surely we, who take the gift of freedom for granted, 
Should often hold them up before God the all-merciful.

Christ calls them blessed
but their aching limbs
their sense of isolation and abandonment 
the psychological torture of uncertainty -
will they live to see another day ? – 
does all this give them a sense of blessedness -
or forsakenness ?

Our attempts to contact them
or their families or their church
may seem a ‘long shot’ – a drop in the ocean;
that costs us very little.
But small gestures can be full of meaning,
can help to keep the fragile Body of Christ whole.
May they feel part of us – as we seek to remember them.

Our prayer that their captors
Whether unjust judges 
or warders just carrying out their jobs, 
may show some compassion – 
awareness of their shared humanity.
May the families and communities of the victims
Know that they are not ‘the forgotten ones’.

As we rejoice in the freedom we enjoy
through the saving word of Christ,
so we pray that those who dwell in a valley of darkness
may yet experience the light of Christ.
For it is always better to light a candle 
than curse the darkness.
May our prayer be a reflection of that light
that no one can put out – 
even the most awful dictator – 
because it comes from God.

We also ask you to pray for those who have suffered the violence of the Castro regime such as Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, Harold Cepero, Orlando Zapata Tamayo, the 37 victims of the "13 de Marzo" tugboat massacre, and the four members of Brothers to the Rescue, and many more.

A Prayer for Victims of Violence
Almighty and Ever-Loving God,
in you we place our trust and hope.

You guide everything with wisdom and love.
Hear the prayers we offer
for those who have been hurt or lost their lives.
May your love gently wipe the tears from our eyes
and remove the fear from our heart.

Look also with favor upon the families
and friends who mourn the victims
and comfort those who are in grief and despair.
We ask this in your name. Amen.

We ask all those who will be participating individually or in a group to use the hashtags #FastForFreedom and #AyunoPorLaLibertad along with posting photos and videos of fasting and prayer actions taken.

Three actions will be carried out between September 19 and September 22 if you would like to join us then e-mail for more information. More information will be forthcoming.

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