Saturday, December 29, 2012

Day of the Holy Innocents: Mass for Two Young Cuban Martyrs

"My only enemy is injustice." - Mario Manuel De la Peña  ( December 28, 1972 - February 24, 1996)

"Those who remove and crush freedom are the real slaves." - Harold Cepero Escalante (January 29, 1980 - July 22, 2012)

A Dream of Freedom

The Cuban Democratic Directorate and members of the exile community attended a Mass officiated by Father José Luis Menéndez to pray for the souls of Harold Cepero Escalante and Mario Manuel De la Peña on Friday, December 28, 2012 at 8pm at Corpus Christi Church

Father José Luis Menéndez gave a powerful homily on the spiritual aspect of a just struggle for freedom. 

Father Menéndez also explained that peace is founded on four pillars: The first is the truth. There cannot be peace where there is not truth. There cannot be peace where there is not justice. There cannot be peace where there is not love. Hate can never achieve peace. There cannot be peace where there is not freedom. If one of these four pillars is absent said Pope John XXIII peace collapses.

Friends of  Harold Cepero Escalante sent a video that was played after the Mass talking about their martyred friend.

Mario Manuel De la Peña's parents attended the Mass and his father spoke about who his son was.

Some of the activists who attended the Mass took a group picture afterwards with Father José Luis Menéndez.

Activists and Father José Luis Menéndez following the Mass
The Mass was held on December 28 because it is the Day of the Holy Innocents which is a religious holiday named in honor of youth slaughtered on King Herod's orders around the time of Jesus’ birth. These young victims were called“Holy Innocents” because they were too young and innocent to have committed any sins.

Both Harold and Mario were also innocent and in their nonviolent defense of human rights and dignity of the Cuban people they were following a path first blazed by Christ, his apostles and later Christian Martyrs.

Mario Manuel de la Peña was one of four men shot down by Cuban MiGs on February 24, 1996 while searching for Cuban rafters in the Florida Straits in international airspace. Mario was 24 years old when he was killed.

Harold Cepero Escalante was a youth leader in the Christian Liberation Movement and died under suspicious circumstances with its founding leader Oswaldo Paya Sardiñas on July 22, 2012. Harold was 32 years old at the time of his untimely death. Family members are demanding an international investigation into the deaths of Harold and Oswaldo.

Following the Mass, from Cuba, Rosa Maria Payá tweeted: Mass was celebrated today in memory of Harold Cepero Escalante.Thanks to all who were present and thanks to God for Harold's life

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