Last month two groups of religious leaders and Pope Francis demonstrated their commitment to U.S.-Cuba reconciliation.
World Council of Churches Group
On April 10th the World Council of Churches, the Cuban Council of Churches, the Latin American Council of Churches and the National Council of Churches USA issued a statement that began with this Biblical quotation: “God shall judge between many peoples, and shall arbitrate between strong nations far away; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” (Micah 4:3).
This statement then expressed “thanks, appreciation, and encouragement for the ongoing negotiations of the governments of Cuba and the United States of America to normalize relations.” The statement also urged the countries “to have conversations in a spirit of mutual respect and equality that will accelerate the process of normalization” and for the U.S. “to remove Cuba from the list of nations sponsoring terrorism, and to terminate the embargo that has created so much suffering in Cuba.”
National Council of Churches USA Group
On April 27th 30 U.S. religious leaders released a public letter to Members of Congress voicing their support for ending the U.S. embargo and all remaining restrictions on U.S. travel to the island and for restoration of “full diplomatic relations, greater opportunities for religious and cultural travel, loosened restrictions on remittances and commodities, Cuba’s removal from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, more trade and new opportunities to support Cuba’s private sector.”This letter was informed by “many decades” of U.S. and Cuban churches having “worked with one another toward common goals” and by strengthening their “relationships . . . as religious freedom in Cuba has improved and church membership has grown.”
The Christian churches and groups on the letter besides the National Council of Churches USA included the American Baptist Church; American Friends Service Committee; Christian Church (Disciples of Christ); Church of the Brethren; Church World Service; Episcopal Church; Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; Jesuit Conference of Canada and U.S.; Maryknoll Fathers, Brothers, Sisters and Missioners; NETWORK (National Catholic Social Justice Lobby); Presbyterian Church (USA); Unitarian Universalists Association; United Church of Christ; and United Methodist Church.
The letter also was signed by the Cuba America Jewish Mission and by the Islamic Society of North America.
Pope Francis’ Upcoming Trip to U.S. and Cuba 
Pope Francis previously had planned a trip to the U.S. this September, and on April 22nd, the Vatican announced the Pope also will visit Cuba just before going to the U.S.. Given the Pope’s significant involvement in helping the two countries to embark on the path of reconciliation last December 17th, he is expected to reiterate his Holiness’ prayers for U.S.-Cuba peace and reconciliation.
Orlando Márquez, a spokesman for the Havana Archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church, celebrated the announcement as “great news. It has been a special time in our country since the presidents of Cuba and the United States announced the process of re-establishing relations, and both of them thanked Pope Francis for his efforts to move the process forward. That is well known in Cuba, and the Cuban people are grateful.”
On April 27, Cuba’s President Raúl Castro had a “cordial” meeting in Havana with Cardinal Beniamino Stella, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy of the Roman Catholic Church. They discussed the upcoming visit by the Pope, and the Cardinal said he was “confident” the papal visit will help improve the relationship between Cuba and the U.S.
During the Pope’s visit to the U.S. he is expected to meet with President Obama and to address a joint session of the U.S. Congress.
Praise God for these religious leaders demonstration of support for this historic reconciliation!
 A prior post discussed Pope Francis’ involvement in the U.S.-Cuba negotiations leading up to the December 17th announcement of the their embarking on the path of reconciliation. This portion of the post is based upon the following: Miroff, Pope Francis to stop off in Cuba on way to United States in September, Wash. Post (April 22, 2015); Reuters, Pope Francis to visit Cube en route to U.S, this fall, N.Y. Times (April 22, 2015), Pope Francis to visit Cuba, Granma (April 24, 2015); Cardinal Stella meets Raul Castro in Havana, Vatican Radio (April 29, 2015); Raúl receives Cardinal Beniamino Stella, Granma (April 28, 2015).