A family celebration


This Saturday we had an interesting event, as both memorials of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and of St. Anthony of Padua coincided. For the Franciscan family, the day of St. Anthony is a feast. Since the Immaculate is our patroness, we wished to honor her in some way.

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We decided to visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Charity by Biscayne Bay (Miami), where we would attend the midday mass in honor of the Immaculate Heart.

The legend of the statue of “la Caridad del Cobre”, as it is commonly known among the Cuban people, traces back to the 1500s, when it was found floating in the Nipe Bay (Holguin province) by three young slaves (“los tres Juanes”) from the copper mines. The statue was placed near the mines, first in a humble hut and eventually in a church. She was proclaimed the Patroness of Cuba in 1916 by Pope Benedict XV.

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The Cuban Exile to Miami retained its devotion to la Virgen de la Caridad, and one of its representatives, the Rev. Augustin Roman, began working with Archbishop Carroll to build a shrine in her honor.

Appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Miami in 1979, he would oversee its construction and serve as its rector up to the very last day of his life.

The brothers arrived at the Shrine around 11:30 am and were joined by a good friend.

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Before Mass, presided by Fr. Rumin OFM, they had some time to admire the artwork inside the Shrine, along with the blessed replica of the statue that arrived from Cuba in 1961.

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The mural behind the altar is a tribute to the faith of the Cuban people going all the way back to the 1500s. An overview of the different parts can be found on the website of the Shrine, here.

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Afterwards, we gathered at the little kiosk outside of the Shrine, where we enjoyed typical Cuban food, such as “guarapo” (a juice made from sugar cane), croquetas, and pan con jamon y queso 🙂 We were soon joined by a group of “spectators” who were quite interested in the crumbs left behind!

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