By Victor Gaetan
Catholic News Service
HAVANA (CNS) — Pediatrician Conchita Morales watched the crowd of 200 people slowly filing out of historic St. Francis of Assisi Church in a neighborhood of Old Havana and felt a deep sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.
After 14 years, Pro-Vida Cuba (Pro-Life Cuba), had concluded its first-ever public prayer service. Filled with prayer and inspirational talks, the event moved Morales and her husband, Hector Gonzalez, a radiologist.
"We had no idea what to expect," Morales told Catholic News Service after the March 25 event. "We will be strengthened in this difficult mission now."
As director of Cuba’s only national pro-life organization, Morales has long called attention to the dangers of abortion in Cuban society in smaller venues. While the organization has not been prohibited from meeting, it has done so largely in private.
Until March 25.
Called Dia por la Vida (Day for Life), the gathering included prayer, eucharistic adoration and Mass. It marked the 14th anniversary of the organization’s founding. The audience included several doctors, according to organizers.
Nine priests concelebrated the Mass for the pro-life movement, Cuban families and the unborn.
Father Antonio Rodriguez Diaz, rector at St. Carlos and St. Ambrosio Seminary, delivered an emotional homily as the eight other priests listened.
"The Catholic Church of Cuba cannot accept abortion or contraceptives that destroy life," he told the gathering. "If we do not fight for unborn life, we are not real Christians. It is our role to mobilize, and teach the truth, on this issue."
Father Rodriguez described an image of Cuba as a street that coincides with the history of Christianity. That street crosses another street, "the street of sadness and bitterness" where "one of the greatest sources of sadness and bitterness is that we have so many abortions," he said.
Abortion became legal in Cuba in 1965 and is widely available through the state health system.
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