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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Friday morning, a delegation from the Archdiocese of Miami will leave for Cuba. In the group will be a local Cuban American making a special trip to the island with his mother, who will reconnect with her roots as Pope Francis brings a message of hope.

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“Pope Francis has played a transformative role in the reestablishment of US Cuba relations,” said Felice Gorordo.

Gorordo is part of a generation of Cuban Americans who grew up hearing stories about Cuba before Fidel Castro’s communist revolution.

They were stories passed down from grandparents and told by his mother who left Cuba when she was 5 years old.

When Gorordo turned 18, he decided he wanted to see Cuba for himself, despite objections from family members, including his mom, he made the trip.

“I’ve been the only one from my family to visit the loved ones left behind and the new generation that came right after,” said Gorordo.

Gorordo’s experience in Cuba prompted him to start Roots of Hope, a non-profit group aimed at empowering young people on the island.

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“So for the past ten years we’ve focused on people to people exchanges. Our focus is bridging the divide between young people here and young people on the island,” said Gorordo.

An unexpected result of Roots of Hope came a year ago, when Gorordo’s mother had a change of heart and decided she wanted to go too.

When she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer the trip became more urgent.

“When Pope Francis said he intended to go the island this was the perfect opportunity to make that dream a reality,” said Gorordo.

As he follows Pope Francis, Gorordo will once again reconnect with family, but this time the trip will be special.

“This will be monumental to take my mom back to her hometown and introduce her to the family that still calls her their own,” said Gorordo.

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Gorordo will spend a few days in Havana and then make a special trip to his mother’s hometown.

Eliott Rodriguez