The first three SDC members arrived in Cuba in March 2011 and immediately settled in the parish of Sagua la Grande. Sagua is a city which in the early twentieth century enjoyed great prosperity but unfortunately, is now in decline. Father Paul Buttigieg, then parish priest of Sagua and who played a major role in the founding of the SDC centre, was very helpful. Bishop Arturo Gonzalez was also very appreciative of the Society from the very beginning.
Over the years, the SDC members helped in the restoration of the Church properties, especially the parish church of Sagua, the Sagrado Corazon Church (a gothic church built by the Jesuits and which for a long time was expropriated by the communist government), the building which is used as the SDC Centre and also, from 2013 onwards, helped to restore the house which Bishop Arturo bought to be the residence of the SDC members. One of the members also did voluntary work in the architects’ office of the local Curia.
Catechism in the Parish
The SDC members have been very much involved in the catechism classes held in the parish of Sagua la Grande every Saturday. With the help of Cuban catechists, they have coordinated the catechism of about eight primary school groups and three adolescent groups. They have been also involved in the catechism for adults. Currently one of the members is preparing a group of about 24 adults for the Sacrament of Confirmation.
Catechism in the SDC Centre
During the week the members hold catechism classes in the SDC centre four times a week. The number of children and adolescents is not so big, but they are immensely appreciative. Outings and other activities are organized regularly both for them and their parents.
From the very beginning, the SDC members have been giving catechism lessons in a number of out-stations. Some of them had to be abandoned over the years. Presently they have an outstation in a residential area full of apartment blocks, where about thirty five children participate every Sunday. In addition to catechetical meetings, the members organize activities and accompany the children and adolescents to mass every Sanday. If it were not for the members, most probably none of them would participate in mass.
San Jorge Preca Group
The SDC members also give a lot of importance to the formation of adults, especially to the members of the San Jorge Preca group. Over the years, in the weekly one-hour-long meetings, they have imparted courses on various topics such as the Bible, the Creed and the book of the Acts of the Apostoles. Of course, the spirituality of St George Preca is ever-present through his prayers and books. Presently about thirty people participate in the meetings.
Over the years, believing, as the Founder did, that the written word is an invaluable tool for formation and evangelization, the members have published quite a number of books. In Cuba religious literature is practically unavailable and the books published by the members are very appreciated. These publications include translations of books of our Founder (about twelve have been published), religious drawing and activity booklets for children, books made up of anecdotes and lives of saints for the general public, and booklets intended to help catechists. In 2023 bishop Arturo, in coordination with ACN, published six thousand copies of five of these booklets and distributed them to the eleven dioceses of Cuba. He is now striving to do the same with other publications.
The Diocesan Catechism Commission
During a number of years, SDC members were involved in the diocesan Catechism Commission. As of 2022 they are in charge of this Commission. Their job involves the formation of catechists through seminars and on-line courses, providing printed material for their use and also giving them some much needed encouragement. The members have also contributed to the National Catechism Commission especially by giving talks to the members, preparing pamphlets to be distributed to all the catechists of Cuba and also organizing weekend seminars for the catechists of all the dioceses.
Incorporation of a Cuban Member
These thirteen years on Cuban soil have brought about much joy and hope, both to Cuban people and also to the SDC members. One of the most joyful events was the incorporation of Karel Cruz Alvarez in February 2023. Presently Karel is in Brazil working in a parish of Carmelite Fathers.