Buildings Returned to Catholic Church in Santiago de Cuba

Santiago de Cuba received Pope Benedict XVI in March 2012. Photo: Dariela Aquique

HAVANA TIMES — The government of the eastern province of Santiago de Cuba will return two church buildings and a parsonage facility to the Catholic Church, reported the local archdiocese on its website.

Caridad Reitor, the secretary of the People’s Power Provincial Assembly in that province, informed the archbishop of Santiago, Dionisio Garcia Ibañez, of the authority’s decision along with the authorization to build a new temple.

One of returned the churches is St. Jose Obrero, which was used for many years by the Academy of Sciences of the province. The other church is San Benito, which had been converted into bakery.

The parsonage house in Cuabitas “will be turned over once the current school year is over, since it has operated as a small elementary school up to now,” said the archbishop.

According to the Diario de Cuba, the authorities are unwilling to return the El Cobre parish church to the Archdiocese. As part of a major tourist attraction, the building is currently operated under the Ministry of Internal Trade.

Several other former Catholic Church properties have been returned in other provinces.  Likewise the church was allowed to build a modern new seminary on the outskirts of the capital.

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