People walk outside the Virgin of Charity of Cobre Catholic church in El Cobre near Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, Monday March 26, 2012. In 1916, the Vatican officially declared the Virgin of Charity of Cobre the patron of Cuba. Pope Benedict XVI arrives to Cuba on Monday. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
SANTIAGO, Cuba (AP) — This sun-scorched city is accustomed to playing second fiddle to Havana at the other end of Cuba. On Monday, though, Santiago came first as Pope Benedict XVI arrived, bringing the world’s gaze with him.
Authorities raised huge steel arches in the shape of a papal miter above a blue-and-white altar where Benedict celebrated Mass on Monday and urged residents of this communist-run country to seek salvation in faith.
Roman Catholic youth held a prayer vigil Sunday night to celebrate the pontiff’s arrival, and workers buzzed about Revolution Square putting final touches on the stage, testing power cables and setting out chairs under the direction of priests. Some people hung welcome posters for the pope in their windows.
“As a Santiagan, I am very proud to be able to receive him with joy,” said 35-year-old Luzmilka Barza. Although she described Login to read more