After papal request, Cuba makes Good Friday 2012 a national holiday
By Carol Glatz
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican spokesman praised Cuba's decision to accept Pope Benedict XVI's request to make Good Friday a national holiday this year.
"It is certainly a very positive sign," Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said April 1.
During the pope's private meeting with Cuban President Raul Castro in Havana March 27, the pope asked for further freedoms for the Catholic Church in the communist nation, including the declaration of Good Friday as a holiday.
The Cuban government accepted the proposal March 31 after the pope's March 29 return to the Vatican.
The Vatican hopes Pope Benedict's March 26-28 visit to Cuba "continues to bring the desired fruits for the good of the church and all Cubans," the spokesman added.
Only Good Friday 2012 has been made a public holiday; the government hasn't decided whether it will become a permanent celebration, news reports said.
Blessed John Paul II's trip to Cuba in 1998 led to Cuba recognizing Christmas as a recurring public holiday.
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