HAVANA (CWN) - Monsignor Roberto Tucci met with Cuban President Fidel Castro on Wednesday as he finalized plans for Pope John Paul's historic visit to the Communist country in January, according to Catholic officials on Thursday.

       Monsignor Tucci, who plans the Holy Father's trips abroad, was in Cuba this week for meetings with Cuban government and church officials. A meeting with Castro was not mentioned by the Foreign Ministry as part of its regular news briefing. The church sources said Castro met with Monsignor Tucci and Alberto Gaspari, director of Vatican Radio, on Wednesday evening.

       The Holy Father will make his first pilgrimage to Cuba, the only Latin American country he has not yet visited, on January 21-25. He is expected to make appearances in Havana, Santa Clara, Camaguey, and Santiago de Cuba.

       On Wednesday, January 21, the Holy Father will arrive at Jose Marti airport outside Havana in early evening. After a short ceremony, he will rest overnight. On Thursday, January 22, the Pope will celebrate Mass at Santa Clara, then meet with Cuban leader Fidel Castro in the afternoon. On Friday he will celebrate a public Mass at Carnaguey, on Saturday at Santiago de Cuba, and on Sunday in Havana, with Castro scheduled to be present in the congregation.


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November 17, 1997 volume 8, no. 32         DAILY CATHOLIC