Catholics and Yoruba unite to celebrate Cuba’s patron saint

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Hundreds of religious pilgrims walked through Old Havana on Sunday to celebrate the Virgin of Charity, Cuba’s patron saint.

The procession was led by the country’s Archbishop Juan de la Caridad Garcia Rodríguez of Havana as Cuba prepares to receive him as its new Cardinal, after Pope Francis announced he would obtain his red hat in a consistory to be held on 5 October in Rome.

Archbishop Garcia Rodríguez blessed the statue of the Virgin and then led the long procession of worshippers through the cobbled streets of the city’s historic district.

For Catholic Cubans, the Virgin of Charity is the country’s advocation of the Virgin Mary.

The island is also home to many faithful of the Yoruba religion, which believes the Virgin is their deity Ochun, and the two groups celebrate her together.

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