HAVANA, CUBA -- On Tuesday, September 8th Cubans celebrated their Patron Saint Day “Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre” (Our Lady of Charity) throughout the island. Cuban Cardinal Jaime Ortega headed the processional mass in Havana.
This year the celebration stands out because is on the eve of Pope Francis’ next visit to the island and it’s the first since the re-establishment of relations between Havana and Washington.
In Cuba Pope Francis will give mass in Havana, Holguín and in Santiago de Cuba at the National Basilica of Our Lady of Charity - La Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre - on September 22nd. Francis enshrined a statue of Our Lady of Charity in the Gardens of Vatican City on August 2014.
Francis will be the third Pope visiting the island. Pope John Paul II did it in 1998 and Benedict XVI in 2012.
--Orlando Matos, NBC News, Havana