Pope Benedict XVI invokes Rev. Felix Varela—candidate for sainthood—during Havana homily

During his homily at Revolution Plaza in Havana Wednesday morning, Pope Benedict XVI invoked Cuban-born Catholic priest Félix Varela, a candidate for sainthood.

In Miami-Dade, the name is well-known as that of a senior high school.

Varela, who struggled for Cuba’s independence from Spain in the early 19th century, was lauded for his heroism by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of the Saints early in March, moving him one step closer to being declared “venerable,” according to the Catholic News Agency.

During his homily, Benedict outlined the importance of education in the Church’s mission, and praised Varela for his dedication to passing on knowledge.

“A shining example of this commitment was the outstanding priest Félix Varela, educator and teacher, an illustrious son of this city of Havana, who has taken his place in Cuban history as the first one who taught his people how to think,” Benedict told the hundreds of thousands of people gathered for the Mass.

Born in Havana in 1788, Valera taught philosophy and sciences at the San Carlos and San Ambrosio Seminary before joining the fight for independence.

Eventually, he was sentenced to death by Spanish courts and migrated to New York, where he continued to practice and minister to migrants. [more]


Miami Herald