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Mass at Santa Elvira Church in Varadero

Elsewhere on this forum, Santa Elvira has been mentioned as a good place to drop off donations to ensure that they get where they are supposed to go.

Last week, we attended mass at Santa Elvira Catholic church in Varadero. We chose the 5:00 p.m. Sunday service (there are several others) and took a cab into town. We had planned to drop off some vitamin and food donations to the church anyway and decided that attending mass would be a great idea - and it was!

The church is a simple stone rectangle construction that looks like something out of “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”. The interior is very simple, with wooden pews and altar. It was standing room only, with quite a few people standing outside and looking in through the doors. They had some recorded music as well as a guitarist and singer, who were lovely (is Cuban music ever not great?). Two little girls read passages from the bible and helped out with the services - altar girls, I guess.

Father Basterache’s sermon was delivered in a beautiful, calm, flowing voice. I didn’t understand much of what he said but did manage to pick out the ending - the medicine he prescribed for us included 3 things: fraternity, service, and I missed the third.

There were a few tourists there and the Cubans made us all welcome, except for the idiot at the front who kept standing up to take pictures. If looks could killl…we would be in jail now and you could tell from the sort of disgusted hum from the Cubans that they weren’t happy either. How incredibly rude, unthinking and insensitive we tourists can be and really need to make more of an effort to think before we flash.

I was touched at the end when the padre closed by thanking us all for coming - in Spanish, English and French. And we certainly got more out of this particular Cuban experience for having taken the time to actually walk into the church and participate in the worship rather than simply taking photos and walking on.

Florita, thank you so much for sharing your experience at St. Elvira’s! It truly is a simple church, and there are few tourists who attend mass there. Hopefully, those with cameras don’t venture too often!

“… except for the idiot at the front who kept standing up to take pictures. If looks could killl…we would be in jail now and you could tell from the sort of disgusted hum from the Cubans that they weren’t happy either…”

Unbelievable…

Thanks for your lovely post on the church, Florita! I visited it during the week to drop off supplies and was disappointed that Father B wasn’t there at the time. (September) So sorry there was a rude tourist taking pictures - what a bore! He could have waited until after the service…grrr

[quote=@martian]"… except for the idiot at the front who kept standing up to take pictures. If looks could killl…we would be in jail now and you could tell from the sort of disgusted hum from the Cubans that they weren’t happy either…"

Unbelievable…[/quote]

When it comes to boorish behaviour by tourists, nothing surprises me anymore.

Taking photos inside of churches, nevermind during an actual service/mass, is forbidden in many cathedrals all over Europe and yet I’ve seen 2-3 idiots doing exactly that every time I travel.

I guess I always sort of hoped that Canadians were a bit more travel saavy, but that theory went out the window for us about 2004 when we vacationed at Breezes Jibacoa.

When we go to Varadero in January/09, we will most likely attend the Sunday service at Santa Elvira Church. What are the other mass hours that you are aware of? Also, where is it located?

One of my favourite memories is of attending mass at the Cathedral in Cienfuegos on Christmas Eve. It was candlelit only. They had a nativity scene and the priest walked over and picked up the baby Jesus and passed him to the person sitting in the first row on the aisle, who in turn passed him to the person behind him and so on. I’m not Catholic and don’t know if this is a traditional type of ceremony, but it was a very beautiful service. They even played a carol, with a chorus that was easily understood and singable. Lovely memory.