National Catholic Reporter

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Washington

Cuban church officials say they need Pope Francis, 'missionary of mercy'

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Ever since Pope Francis' visit to Cuba was announced, Cuban church officials have billed him as the "missionary of mercy."

And it's an important mission, some Cubans say, so that the country and its people -- living in and outside of Cuba -- can move forward. The pope's message of mercy is exactly what Cuba needs, some say.

"Cuba needs mercy because Cubans have been divided even inside Cuba, and Cubans have been divided even outside Cuba," said Eduardo Azcarate, born in Havana but who now lives in Falls Church, Va.

U.S. priest: Spiritual costs of Cuban embargo have been high

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The U.S. trade embargo against Cuba turns 55 in October, and its effects are clear in the dilapidated buildings, scant food supply of Cuban stores and infrastructure around the island.

But what's not easy to see is the spiritual cost. Trinitarian Fr. Juan Molina, director of the U.S. bishops' Office for the Church in Latin America, said that spiritual cost has been great.

College students bring support for Clean Power Plan to Congress

Getting the food service at St. Xavier University to change from plastic to biodegradable cups doesn't seem like it's a big deal.

But for Guadalupe Avila, a senior at the Sisters of Mercy-sponsored school in Chicago, it showed that she and her fellow members of Students for Social Justice can make a difference when it comes to the earth's environmental future.

Now she's ready to tackle Congress.

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August 28-September 10, 2015

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