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N.Y. cardinal buys host-making machine for Havana nuns


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J-P Mauro - published on 03/25/21

This is the second machine for making Eucharistic hosts donated to the order by a New York Cardinal.

A cloistered community of nuns is receiving a much needed gift from Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York. The prelate has sent the Cuban Discalced Carmelites a new machine to make Eucharistic hosts. The gift comes almost a full year after his trip to Cuba.

Catholic San Fransisco reports that Cardinal Dolan visited Cuba at the invitation of the island nation’s president, Miguel Díaz-Canel, in 2020. Although his time with the sisters was brief, Dolan struck up a quick friendship with them. Before he left, he encouraged them to keep in contact and implored them to ask if they needed anything.

Not long after Cardinal Dolan returned to the U.S., the Cuban order took him up on his offer. They were in dire need of a new host-making machine to produce Eucharistic wafers. Broken machinery is hard to repair in Cuba. Due to the U.S. embargo, spare parts cannot be imported. This means that broken machinery that cannot be fixed usually gets scrapped to help fix something else. In the case of host-making machines, there are few spare parts to be found.

Wanda Vasquez, director of the New York Archdiocese’s Hispanic ministry, said in an interview with Catholic New York:

“So the cardinal made the decision, as opposed to helping them fix the machine, getting them a new machine,” Ms. Vasquez said. “He said he wanted to do it as a gift. So it was a gift from Cardinal Dolan through his pastoral visit to Cuba. He felt that he needed to help them to help the Church in Cuba continue our Eucharistic value … to be able to create the host and be able to continue delivering them to all the parishes in Cuba.” 

Delayed by the pandemic

The report goes on to note that the machine would have arrived much sooner, but was delayed due to the pandemic. Cuba has shut down several times during the last year, and each time pushed the host-making machine back in the queue even further. This is the second host-making machine bought for the Cuban community by the Archdiocese of New York. The previous machine was donated by Cardinal John J. O’Connor, during a similar pastoral visit.

Sister Ana Mercedes de Jesús Crucificado, O.C.D., mother superior of the nuns, told CNY that the congregation is grateful to Cardinal Dolan and the Archdiocese of New York for the new host-making machine. She said:

“We have seen his heart of a pastor before a flock in need of the most important thing, the bread for the Eucharistic celebration,” said Sister Ana Mercedes, noting that the congregation “will continue praying for Cardinal Dolan, for his pastoral works, and for his most profound intentions.”She added, “For us as Discalced Carmelites, from the quiet and silent surrender at the feet of Jesus in the tabernacle, we carry the joys and hopes, the pain and suffering of all the Cuban people and all of humanity.


Read more:
Cuban-style Catholic hymns nominated for Latin Grammy Award

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