A contingent of Affiliates from the Northeast Ohio Chapter—Jan and Curt Alberti, Pam Cibik, Gerry Mullaney, and Kathy Ress—had the privilege of visiting Cuba last December. An added and unanticipated element of this visit was the opportunity to experience the mourning period for Fidel Castro in his homeland. Our group came of age in the 1950s and 1960s, a time when Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution were demonized by the US government. The message we heard was the call to condemn and eradicate Castro’s atheistic, communist movement in our backyard.
What we did not hear a half century ago was the voice of a leader and a people who experienced the inequalities and injustices of the US-backed regime of Fulgencio Batista. This voice was determined to make changes.
This was our third Maryknoll Fathers & Brothers immersion trip but the first time Peggy and I visited Jamaica. The main purposes of these immersion trips are to experience Christ wherever we go and to be present to all those we encounter. This trip certainly fulfilled these objectives for us.
It took many of us some time to get acclimated to the heat and humidity that we felt the minute we deplaned, but our accommodations were comfortable and the hospitality provided by our host was wonderful. We plunged right in with songs, prayers, and introductions so that we would get to know each other, since most of the 11 of us had not met each other before.