December 19, 2011

The Cuban bishops announced that 2012 would be a Marian jubilee year and that Pope Benedict would come to Cuba as a "pilgrim of La Caridad," the popular name for the Virgin of Charity of El Cobre, the country's patroness.

In a Dec. 8 pastoral letter, they declared a jubilee year from Jan. 7, 2012, through Jan. 6, 2013, and said Cubans need the joy of faith, the strength of Christian love, and the light of hope that can come from "a reunion with our Christian roots" and with the "enthusiastic reception of the teachings of Jesus Christ."

Four days later, on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Pope Benedict confirmed that he will visit Cuba and Mexico in the spring.

Various Spanish language news outlets have reported the trip will take place between March 23 and March 29.