Photo: The Pope in Cuba
Kenny Fernandez Delgado was 13 when Blessed John Paul II came to the tropical Cuban capital. He remembers little about the 1998 event other than arriving late for the Mass at Revolution Square with his mother and a brother. Today, Fernandez is in his first year of theology studies at the new San Carlos and San Ambrosio Seminary. He called the chance to see Pope Benedict XVI March 28 an exhausting, emotional and unique opportunity.
That morning, the seminarians rose at 4 a.m., about an hour earlier than their normal wake-up call. When the pope arrived at the morning Mass in Revolution Square, the seminarians were seated in a section close to the papal stage. “We shouted and clapped; we were very motivated to see the pope, especially because we were promised to have a group photo with him,” Fernandez said.
“Some of us could touch the pope and kiss the fisherman’s ring.” Fernandez was informed by an Italian-speaking security official that he was not among those who would be shaking hands with the pope. However, Pope Benedict addressed the group and told the seminarians they were in his thoughts and prayers. “It was a very emotional moment; he said he wished us well and will pray for us,” he said. “He is a very kind person, and a little shy. We also felt he was a little tired.”