Overcoming great obstacles, many Cubans are returning to the Catholic faith and helping renew the island’s church.

To this day Aldo Santos remembers with gratitude the frequent blackouts he experienced as a child in his native town of Holguín in northeast Cuba. Everyone in the neighborhood would come out of their house to gaze at the stars.

He would look up and ask his father about the moon and the planets and about a future full of dreams. He learned that even galaxies die, and it was then that he began to understand something about the end of things.

Now, at 39, Santos is a renowned cardiologist at the Lenin Hospital of Holguín and he deals with death quite often. When excessive work and stress make him feel distant from his wife and three children, and even from God, he turns off the lights and invites his family to look up to heaven. In the darkness, surrounded by his own, he says he is able to reconnect to what is essential.

Connecting to what is essential is an important survival strategy for people in Cuba, and it involves more than being connected to family.

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