Category: Basilica of Our Lady Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre



Aunt Xiomara is my Mother’s youngest sister who lived in Kingston, Jamaica

Xiomara Fong Ramos, wife of Pedro Zayas, has travelled in the Cuba, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, Miami, Florida, and in the Chicagoland area in the USA, and in London, England, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Germany, and the Central European States.

Now Aunt Xiomara who is a senior retired urban planner lives in Santiago de Cuba with her husband Pedro Zayas and her Grandchildren who visit her during the summer in Cuba. Aunt Xiomara only has one son whose name is Pedro also, married to Xiomara with two children Eliannie and Rafael Alejandro Zayas. My Mother is the God-mother of Xiomara’s son Pedro.

My Mother’s third sister Xiomara was born on July 28, 1948, ten years after her oldest sister and middle sister Dulce María, all legitimate daughters of the Chinese national Alberto Fong and Cuban Irene Ramos Mejías, who managed the business of the Tailoring Garment Factory and Dry Cleaners, Downtown in Kingston, Jamaica. My Grandmother Irene’s oldest son José also known as “Pepín” was the first child from her first marriage. Then my Mother was born in 1938 as the first daughter of her second marriage to Alberto Fong in Santiago de Cuba. Her second broher José Alberto was born before the middle daughter Dulce María, Xiomara was born afterwards, and the youngest son Miguel was born the last of six children begotten by Irene Ramos Mejías during her lifetime between Santiago de Cuba and Kingston, Jamaica.

During 1994, Aunt Xiomara visited Miami, Florida, and the Village of Lombard in York Township, DuPage County, Illinois USA. My Mother and youngest brother invited Aunt Xiomara to visit us, after our family purchased two (2) Lombard homes in the state of Illinois, United States of America. Aunt Xiomara travelled by herself to North America. When Aunt Xiomara arrived to O’Hare Airport, we went to pick her up for her holiday visit to Chicago and the Village of Lombard where she stayed with my Mother and youngest brother at 342 West Harrison Street near Main Street and Lilacia Park. That same year, other house guests were invited to our Lombard homes. Reverend Melvin A. Wittler and Mrs. Nancy Wittler (Patriquin) my in-laws and parents of my husband Nathan Scott Wittler, were driving across North America from South Vermont in New England during the Spring of 1994 and coincided with my Aunt Xiomara during our family reunion. My Father, Mr. Roberto Hung invited all of us to breakfast, lunch, and dinner at his expense as a welcoming host in our Lombard home at 502 S. Wesmtmore-Meyers Road and Washington Boulevard in District 5, York Township, DuPage County, Illinois USA.

While Aunt Xiomara was visiting us in the Village of Lombard, I used to pick her up in my sportscar Nissan 200SX and driver her to go shopping at the Oakbrook Center to purchase fashion clothes at Lord & Taylor, Marshall Field’s and other stores in DuPage County, Illinois. I bought Aunt Xiomara fashion garments as gifts to take back with her upon returning to Santiago de Cuba.

In the past, Uncle Pedro Zayas, Aunt Xiomara and her son Pedro lived in Europe and travelled through London, England, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Germany and the Central European States.

When Aunt Xiomara was a young girl, she used to help my Mother while she was studying to be a teacher at the Normal School for Teachers and the University of Oriente in Santiago de Cuba. Aunt Xiomara used to keep my Mother company as a youngest sister, closest friend, and chaperone when the latter met my Father, Roberto Hung when they were introduced at a social event in Santiago de Cuba, before my parents were married on March 23, 1957.

Aunt Xiomara is ten (10) years older than I am. Last July 28th, she celebrated her 64th birthday anniversary in Santiago de Cuba where she lives with her family, grandchildren, friends, and co-workers.

The family of my Aunt Xiomara and Uncle Pedro Zayas, they also have other relatives who live in state of New Jersey and across the United States of America and around the world.


On March 27, 2012, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI will make a pilgrimage to the Basilica of the Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre during the 400th Anniversary of the finding of the Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre at the Bay of Nipe, near Santiago de Cuba.

The Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre has an inseparable presence in the religious culture of Cuba as the patron saint of the Cuban people.

All the cultural and religious manifestations of devotion have honored the Patron Saint and Mother of Cubans who acknowledge that her presence has developed our idiosyncracy, appreciating that the best of our national character traditionally affable, cordial and hospitable is derived from its maternal care and the educational force of Christian love.

Among the offerings and contributions, not only do we find symbols of the Cuban culture, we also find the celebrated American writer Ernest Hemingway who wanted to offer the medal which he was awarded for the Nobel Prize in Literature during the year 1956.

We all pray to the Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre that Cubans be faithful to the Christian soul of our nation.

                                          Calendar Design Work by Cosme Proenza (detail)
©All Rights Reserved by the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Cuba. www.iglesiacubana.org
Original translation from Spanish into English by GHung


                                                           Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre
2012 Calendar for Marian Jubilee at the National Sanctuary of El Cobre, near Santiago de Cuba

January 2012:  Our Lady Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre is an inextricable part of the soul of  our people in Cuba (and abroad), that is the feeling that our veterans from the Cuban War of Independence felt and expressed when they offered one of the national flags which accompanied them during the struggles for the freedom of Cuba.  The same feeling has also been expressed by other generations who, from the inside and outside of Cuba, have taken offerings to Our Lady Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre, insignias from various provinces in Cuba and a treasure chest containing the vote of faith and devotion from many Cubans who live abroad and worship from a distance the blessed Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre.

Original English Translation from the Spanish 2012 Calendar of the Cuban Catholic Church. 
Iglesia Cubana Católica


Cardinal Francis George visits Cuba
June 23, 2010|By Manya A. Brachear, Tribune reporter
Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George arrived by private plane in Cuba on Wednesday to meet with local Roman Catholic parishioners and pray at a shrine for the island nation’s patron saint.

Archbishop Dionisio Garcia Ibanez of Santiago, Cuba, invited George to his archdiocese after a visit to Chicago last year for a film premiere that raised money for humanitarian work in Chicago and Cuba.

George’s trip will include a Mass at the Santiago cathedral and a visit to the national shrine of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre. Catholic Cubans in Chicago celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Charity on Sept. 8, with Mass at St. Ita in Chicago, St. Lambert in Skokie and Sacred Heart in Melrose Park.

AdvertisementColleen Dolan, communications director for the Chicago archdiocese, said the timing of the cardinal’s visit had nothing to do with a recent five-day meeting in Havana between President Raul Castro and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Vatican’s foreign minister.

The purpose of the visit is “not an analysis for the government life of the area,” Dolan said. “He’s interested in church life. There is a Catholic church in Cuba. That’s what he’s going to see.”

But in recent months, Catholic bishops have had a number of successful negotiations with the Cuban government. Mamberti, for example, did not meet with dissidents during his visit. And shortly after a meeting between Cuba’s Cardinal Jaime Ortega and Castro, Cuba transferred about a dozen political prisoners closer to their families.

Miguel De La Torre, professor of social ethics at Iliff School of Theology in Denver who specializes in Cuban religion and politics, said George’s 24-hour pastoral visit could carry long-term significance.

“It is up to the religious leaders to begin to deal with the Judeo-Christian issue of reconciliation,” De La Torre said. “One of the problems I have with the U.S. embargo of Cuba is it prevents U.S. citizens from mingling and talking to Cuban citizens. The quickest way to begin to melt this animosity is for the people to begin to talk to each other, and hopefully the government will be able to catch up.”

mbrachear@tribune.com

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