Deacons from 12 Countries met at the Havana Seminary
The IDC Board and Delegates, convened this year in Havana at the Invitation of Miguel Angel Ortiz Corrales, They also attended the National Congress of the Cuban Deacons.
The person in charge of the Cuban deacons in the Bishops’ Conference, Msgr. Domingo Oropesa Lorente, Bishop of Cienfuegos welcomed more than 50 deacons and their wives in the House of Church in Havana. Bishop Domingo had special words of greeting for the IDC Board and Delegates. With their presence, guests from 12 countries would, he said, enrich the conference as the diaconal couples of Cuba.
The four days of the meeting were marked by very diverse contents. Lectures – among others, IDC President Klaus Kießling, spoke about, “All dreamt about Cuba …” – the Case for the Diaconal Primacy of a Missionary Church – were intertwined with vivid witnesses by two diaconal couples and the visit to a parish on the outskirts of Havana which is very committed in the social field.
With their missionary service, the Cuban deacons try to find an adequate answer to the different challenges which they encounter in the field. This involves social commitment, but also catechetical impulses as well as a wide spectrum of liturgical action. The deacons’ wives perform a just as intense missionary service and act on their own in all the dimensions of the ministerial activities. So for example, a deacon described the difficult drive to his community somewhere in the mountains, a community which, at the beginning of his ministry, consisted of just four churchgoers. The deacon got his wife and two children involved and, as a family, they used a lot of creativity in order to initiate a community life. The finger puppet theatre attracted the children at first which gradually led to the parents and grandparents considering the parish as their “home away from home” where they could come together for catechetical and liturgical meetings. Recently a 70 year old received Baptism, the deacon told us with great joy and visible pride. The next step he envisages is to open, together with his wife, a movie theatre in the town with a population of 12,000, in order to offer the youth an alternative pastime to just music and alcohol consumption. He already requested funds for this project to Missio Brazil.
This couple spends their weekends in the parish, together with their children. They found themselves obliged to make a list in order to coordinate the numerous invitations for house visits, meals and even over-night stays.
The missionary power and the love for the people was clearly to be seen in all the deacons and their wives. Even the extremely difficult conditions in Cuba do not discourage them. The meeting left a lasting impression on the IDC Board and Delegates about the missionary witness of the diaconal couples.