Archbishop Pérez Joins with Other Cuban American Bishops to Issue Joint Statement Regarding the Protests in Cuba

“In dramatic and courageous images that have been seen throughout the world, the people of Cuba went to the streets in massive demonstrations of solidarity, in towns, villages and cities on July 11 and 12. Their motto ‘Patria y Vida’ expressed their frustrations as they experience record cases of Covid-19, a lack of vaccines, adequate medical care and needed supplies – inhuman circumstances that add to the existing lack of food and essential human necessities. Their chant of ‘Libertad’ underscores their desire for every Cuban citizen to enjoy basic human rights, as recognized as part of our human dignity by the United Nations, and defended for centuries by the Catholic Church in its social teaching.


As Cubans and as bishops of the Catholic Church in the United States, we are ever-mindful of the constant suffering and frustration of our brothers and sisters on the Island. We recognize that, while hundreds of thousands have experienced the need to emigrate, in order to enjoy basic human rights and a future filled with possibilities, those who have not – by choice or inability to do so – as Cubans in Cuba, are to be the actors of their own future and aspirations. The right and courage of the people in Cuba to raise their voice publicly, casting away their fear of repression and revealing authentic solidarity as a people, are acknowledged and applauded.


We, Cuban-American bishops, join in solidarity with the Cuban people in their quest for responses to their human rights and needs. We are deeply troubled by the aggressive reaction of the government to the peaceful manifestations, recognizing that ‘violence engenders violence.’ Such a reaction seems to negate the basic Cuban principle of having ‘una patria con todos y para el bien de todos’ (a homeland with all and for the good of all). We stand in solidarity with those detained because they have voiced their opinions. We pray for their families and call for their immediate release.


Finally, we call on international governments and all charitable organizations to collaborate in assisting in this urgent humanitarian crisis for the sake of the suffering people of Cuba, especially the sick and the poor. We commend the care of Caritas Cubana, as it continues to mediate – with ever so limited resources – a response to the basic human needs of the people of the Island, recognizing that the alleviation of suffering is a moral imperative.


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As always, together with our brother-bishops in Cuba, and our brothers and sisters inside and outside the Island. We continue to place our trust in the motherly gaze of the patroness of Cuba, Our Lady of Charity.”


Most Reverend Nelson Pérez – Archbishop of Philadelphia

Most Reverend Felipe Estevez – Bishop of St. Augustine

Most Reverend Manuel Cruz – Auxiliary Bishop of Newark

Most Reverend Octavio Cisneros – Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Brooklyn

Father Eric Banecker’s Weekly Message

Dear friends in Christ, 


The readings for this Sunday speak of Divine election, in two interrelated ways. Saint Paul reminds the Ephesians that – as Christians – we are chosen and elected by God to share in the life of his Son by grace. It is always good to remind ourselves that we are not Catholic Christians because of genetic or cultural reasons, but because we have been claimed by the Trinity in Baptism, adopted as his own beloved children. What a gift to meditate on in these summer months!


The second kind of Divine election is God’s free choice to choose certain members of his people to share in his mission and ministry. We find this in the Old Testament calls of the prophets, such as Amos, related in the first reading. Amos was not a professional religious figure, but a dresser of sycamore trees. Yet God called him to announce a message of repentance to the northern kingdom of Israel. Indeed, God does not choose the qualified; he qualifies the chosen!


It is important to us to reflect on how this Divine election continues to this day. We can encourage those who are “seeking” in terms of faith to find a home in the Catholic Church. We can also do our part to encourage vocations to the priesthood and religious life. I am convinced that there are young men in our parish, for instance, who would make excellent priests. Christ calls who he wills, but it is for us to offer our encouragement, support, and prayers if we encounter someone who might have a religious vocation. In this way, we will help to ensure that the Gospel continues to reach to the ends of the earth!


Finally, this week I celebrated my first anniversary since arriving here at St. Francis de Sales Parish. It has been quite a year – and it has really been enjoyable. I’m grateful to all of you for your love for God and your support of our parish. 


May God be Blessed!


-Father Eric Banecker 


Parish Update

Dear friends in Christ,

On this 131st anniversary of the founding of our parish, I have exciting news to share with you all. Today, Archbishop Perez appointed me pastor of Saint Francis de Sales Parish. I am grateful to the Archbishop for his confidence in me, and I look forward to continuing my priestly ministry here at DeSales. It is a wonderful parish that I am humbled to lead. More information will be forthcoming about an installation Mass and celebration. Please keep in your prayers all the priests receiving new assignments this weekend, along with the two newly ordained priests of the Archdiocese.
May God be Blessed!
-Father Eric Banecker