The ongoing relationship and communication between the US and Cuban governments has been bridged on behalf of the Vatican for the last four to six years.
The Pope’s visit was intended to solidify and confirm that the Cuban government has taken part in correspondence with the US and the western world, hopefully permit- ting religious toleration and possibly leading to freedom of political parties, freedom of speech, and an institution of democracy.
Optimists speculate that tourism, investment, industrialism, banking, and continued communication may open further dialogue between the US and Cuba.In August, Cuba and the US were able to formally open their respective embassies, the first step towards creating somewhat symbiotic relations.
Pope Francis began his first papal visit to the US on September 22. His first days on US soil were spent at the White House after be- ing greeted by President Obama at Joint Base Andrews, a US military facility located in Maryland.
The Pope’s itinerary con- sisted of a visit to Saint Matthew’s Cathedral and his first ever canonization Mass in the US at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC, the nation’s largest Catholic church.
On September 24, the Sen- ate and the House of Representatives held a joint session where the Pope was welcomed and delivered his first speech to Congress, citing many American progressives such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln.
Arian Rubio’ 15 had the pleasure of volunteering at the White House State Arrival Ceremony and attending the watch party on the Capitol Lawn for the Pope’s address to Congress.
“He stood at the front of the House chamber, flanked by Vice President Biden and Speaker Boehner, two devout Catholics of differing political ideologies. I found it notable that the Pope focused on four individuals in American history: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., Dorothy Day, and Thomas Merton. [They] all believed strongly in social justice, but the in- vocation of Dorothy Day, a Chris- tian socialist, seemed unique in an address to Congress,” Rubio said.“The Pope later came out and addressed the people standing in crowds on the Capitol lawn. He blessed the children and families of the American people and asked everyone to pray for him, or for those who do not practice Christianity, to send him good will. People were in awe of Pope Francis and were able to see that he is a good, honest, and caring leader of the Catholic Church,” said Rubio. “Our efforts must aim at restoring hope, righting wrongs, maintaining commitments and thus promoting the well-being of individuals and of peoples… We must move forward together, as one, in a renewed spirit of fraternity and solidarity, cooperating generously for the common good,” Pope Francis said, addressing a joint meeting of Congress.