Retired bishop stays active in ministry at shrine to Cuba's patroness
Published: February 21, 2012
MIAMI (CNS) -- Though officially retired as a Miami auxiliary, Bishop Agustin A. Roman can still be found at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Charity overlooking the city's Biscayne Bay, hearing confessions in his office throughout the day and into the evening. A native of Havana, Bishop Roman was expelled from Cuba in 1961 along with scores of other Cuban priests. He went to Spain, worked in Chile for four years and then arrived in the Miami Archdiocese. At the request of the late Miami Archbishop Coleman F. Carroll, he soon took on the task of building the shrine with donated pennies from the local exile community over a seven-year period. Regarded for his humility and gentle, pastoral style, Bishop Roman, who turns 84 in May, remains a leading Cuban-American exile and observer of the work of Catholic evangelization in the Americas. As the region waits for the upcoming papal visit to Cuba March 26-28, Bishop Roman talks passionately about the pillars of family life and devotion to Our Lady of Charity in Cuban life, both here and in Cuba. "It is the same faith you will see in all Latin America: a faith that is part of a culture, a faith that comes from the family and a devotion to the Blessed Mother," the bishop told Catholic News Service. The shrine is popular with immigrants from Venezuela and Colombia, for example, both countries with internal strife over the last decade and with large numbers of resettled families in Florida. Cuban-Americans, as well as the many other Catholic Latino and South American immigrants who pass through the shrine, can see their situations in the biblical understanding of the exiled taking their faith from place to place, according to Bishop Roman. "My hope for Cuban-Americans is that they be truly integrated and share the faith with other people," he said. "It is necessary that the people be integrated in the country. Integrated is not the same as assimilation," where one relinquishes his or her identify. "Integration is for us to have a culture of faith and you share your faith with other people," he said.
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