In pictures: Pope Benedict in Cuba 27 March 2012 BBC News
(...) "So the somber Mass in Santiago de Cuba unfolded, led by a clearly exhausted Holy Father. His homily was a serious catechism on the significance of the Annunciation, honoring family, commitment and, of course, the Blessed Mother.
"He acknowledged the many daily challenges facing Cuban families struggling to survive under stress and in dismal living conditions, which affect almost everyone, outside the ruling elite.
"Pope Benedict ended with a forward-looking vision aimed at the island’s souls: “I appeal to you to reinvigorate your faith, that you may live in Christ and for Christ, and armed with peace, forgiveness and understanding, that you may strive to build a renewed and open society, a better society, one more worthy of humanity and which better reflects the goodness of God.”
"Then scores of neatly dressed believers received Communion from the Pope’s delicate hands.
"Above, everyone gazed the diminutive 400-year-old figurine of Our Lady of Charity, whose jubilee anniversary provided reason for the papal visit.
"And in her honor, the Pope ended the liturgy by bestowing on her a golden rose, an ancient Catholic tradition and the 12th golden rose Benedict has given. In this case, it seemed to reward the Marian image for receiving countless prayers and tears throughout the years.
"The golden rose also honors the Cuban people, since the miraculous icon is their patroness." Read more: Pope Benedict's First Day in Cuba: Face-Off of Worldviews As papal Mass begins, a man in the crowd doesn’t get far in a vocal protest of communism. By Victor Gaetan 03/27/2012 National Catholic Register ncregister.com
"Some Christians, notably Roman Catholics, view Mariology as a key component of Christology. In this view, not only is Mariology a logical and necessary consequence of Christology, but without it, Christology is incomplete, since the figure of Mary contributes to a fuller understanding of who Christ is and what he did. Certain Christian traditions of Protestant heritage tend not to hold this view.
"Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) expressed this sentiment about Roman Catholic Mariology when in two separate occasions he stated, "The appearance of a truly Marian awareness serves as the touchstone indicating whether or not the Christological substance is fully present" and "It is necessary to go back to Mary, if we want to return to the truth about Jesus Christ." Christology - Also see Marian (links on Wikipedia)
Mariology and Christology
"Mariology (the study of Mary) has been related to Christology (the study of Christ) and in Roman Catholic teachings has been positioned as a logical and necessary consequence of Christology: Jesus and Mary are son and mother, redeemer and redeemed. Pope John Paul II expressed this concept in Redemptoris Mater by stating: "At the center of this mystery, in the midst of this wonderment of faith, stands Mary. As the loving Mother of the Redeemer, she was the first to experience it: "To the wonderment of nature you bore your Creator"!" Roman Catholic theologians have also expressed the view that: "Mariology is Christology developed to its full potential".
"In Roman Catholic theology, Mary and her son Jesus are very close but not identical. Therefore, the study of Mary, while contributing to the study of Christ, is also a separate discipline in its own right, with an understanding of the figure of Mary contributing to a fuller understanding of who Christ is and what he did. In the Roman Catholic view, a Christology without Mary is incomplete because it is not based on the total revelation of the Bible." Roman Catholic Mariology (Also see Mariology (general perspective))
(Added on 3/30/2012) "Prior to the pontificate of Sixtus IV (1471–84) the Golden Rose consisted of a simple and single blossom made of pure gold and slightly tinted with red. Later, to embellish the ornament while still retaining the mystical symbolism, the gold was left untinted but rubies and afterwards many precious gems were placed in the heart of the rose or on its petals.
"Pope Sixtus IV substituted in place of the single rose a thorny branch with leaves and many (ten or more) roses, the largest of which sprang from the top of the branch with smaller roses clustering around it. In the center of the principal rose was a tiny cup with a perforated cover, into which the pope poured musk and balsam to bless the rose." Golden Rose