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April 2, 1999, Cuba Free Press. >

MANY EASTER ACTIVITIES OCCURRED DURING HOLY WEEK IN CUBA By Tania Quintero, Cuba Free Press (as translated by a volunteer).

HAVANA - There were many activities in Cuba on the occasion of the Christians' holy week for the Roman Catholic world from March 28 through April 4. A little over a year after the pope's visit here, some of the principal activities included Cardinal Jaime Ortega Alamino, archbishop of Havana, officiating at all services at the Metropolitan Cathedral.

On March 28, Palm Sunday, at 10:30 a.m. the Mass and Blessing of the Palms were held. On the 31st, Holy Wednesday, at 8:30 p.m. the program "The seven words: Christ on the Cross" was held. The choir ensemble "Juan Pablo II" and the "Schola Cantorum Coralina" under the direction of Professor Alina Orraca interpreted the "Seven Words" a work by Theodore Dubois. The work counted with the participation of the Spanish soloist, Jordi Homs and Cubans Sonia McCormac, Arnulfo Ramirez and Mario Jiga as well as the piano accompaniments of Selena Cansino.

Other events: On April 1, Holy Thursday, at 8 p.m. the Mass of the Lord's Supper; on Good Friday at 8.p.m. a celebration of the Passion; on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. the Easter vigil; and on Resurrection Sunday at 10:30 a.m. the Easter Mass. A special invitation had been extended to all those baptized to attend the Cathedral on April 2 to receive a special blessing from their bishop, Cardinal Ortega.

On this occasion, the end of Holy Week coincided with the anniversary celebrations of the Pioneers and the other communist youth organizations. This presented a challenge for both Catholics and communists since, even with the improved relations between church and state, there still are frictions at the very basic levels.

Tania Quintero, Cuba Free Press

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