MIAMI (CBS4) – Students from Pre-K through eighth grade at St. Timothy Catholic School have been preparing for Pope Benedict XVI’s historic trip to Cuba for quite some time.

“As a Catholic, it was a very big moment for us that the pope was traveling to the Americas and he would actually be passing through Cuba,” said Spanish teacher Liliana Sanchez.

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Many of the students at the school, located southwest Miami-Dade, are Cuban descent. On Tuesday they watched the telecast of the pope’s visit to the Shrine of Our Lady of Charity in Cobre, Cuba. It was a moment of great significance for many of the students. Juan Ortega said the Virgin of Charity is the patron saint of Cuba and she is very special to his family.

“She gave them hope and courage along the way,” said Ortega, “So they are very dedicated to her, they’re very devoted.”

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The Pope, who arrived in Santiago, Cuba on Monday spent the night in a house built next to the shrine.

“I think that it was incredible that he was actually at the shrine, that makes it all the more special,” said 8th grader Liana Lopez.

The Holy Father’s visit coincides with the 400th anniversary of Our Lady of Charity. Students at St. Timothy hope the pope’s time in Cuba will have a positive impact on the lives of the people who live there.

“I think it’s really special because they don’t have the religious freedom as we do,” said Lopez, “But with the pope’s visit, he gives them that freedom.”

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Pope Benedict will meet with President Raul Castro, and possibly his brother Fidel, Tuesday afternoon in Havana. Wednesday he’ll celebrate a Mass in the capital city’s Revolution Square.