Cuban government makes Good Friday official holiday

Pilgrims gather in Cuba for Mass during Pope Benedict's visit in March 2012.

After granting temporary permission for Cubans to celebrate Good Friday in 2012 and 2013, the Cuban government has decided grant a request made by Pope Benedict during his visit to the country in 2012 to make it a permanent official holiday.

Although the norm will not be in force until June, the Ministry of Work and Social Security issued a special resolution allowing Cubans to observe Good Friday this April 18.

However, it said those who work in services such as sugar cane harvesting, shipping and receiving, transportation, health care, tourism and other services, would not be granted the holiday.

After Fidel Castro assumed power in Cuba in 1959, religious holidays and practices were outlawed.

Religious processions and Christmas were reinstated after John Paul II’s visit to Cuba in 1998.

The Cuban Conference of Catholic Bishops announced on their website this week that state television would broadcast a passion play on Wednesday evening from the Cathedral of Havana.


Voices

Spiritual, but not religious? Who to blame for declining church attendance

Father Ronald Rolheiser, OMI

It’s no secret that today there’s been a massive drop-off in church attendance. Moreover, that drop-off in church-going is not paralleled by the same widespread growth in atheism and agnosticism. Rather, more and more people are claiming to be spiritual but not religious, faith-filled but not churchgoers. Why this exodus from our churches?

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