Bolivian Catholics welcome first indigenous bishop


The Catholic cathedral in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, in southern Bolivia, was filled to overflowing as Catholics witnesses a Mass at which Cardinal Archbishop Julio Terrazas ordained Monsignor René Leigue Cesari as auxiliary bishop for the diocese. Leigue is heralded as the first indigenous man of Bolivia to serve in such a capacity.
Cardinal Terrazas referred to Bishop Leigue as "son" and "friend", thanking him for accepting the challenge despite any doubts or human weakness. The senior Catholic cleric of the country also took the occasion to remind him that the mission of Catholic bishops is to be ministers of unity and witnesses to truth.
According to the archdiocese, the solemn Mass was attended by Archbishop Sergio Gualberti, Apostolic Nuncio Monsignor Giambattista Diquattro, as well as numerous bishops, priests and deacons from all over Bolivia. After 50 years of priesthood and 34 of as a bishop, Cardinal Terrazas said he was especially pleased to ordain Bishop Leigue, who was born, raised and formed in Bolivia. The cardinal added, "I thank God that we can have a reliable guide for the people, a word of encouragement in all circumstances, and a friendly presence, a presence that encourages all ... who leads us to announce the ability that our people have to be able to receive God, to love and to say with clarity and courage to all those who ask us, why we believe, celebrate, what we live every day."
For his part, newly-consecrated Bishop Leique thanked his fellow priests for their support. "I ask that your support should be continuous and not just at the beginning, for today my work begins and I need a lot from you, especially your cooperation and prayers, I ask that you not view me any differently because I am now a bishop, and I hope that you will always consider me your friend, and I invite you to be part of the work I do within the Archdiocese of Santa Cruz.  I invite the laity to become engaged in their parishes to respond to the mission that God entrusts to us, to walk together and work together and so that we will move forward. "

Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. He is also a freelance translator.

Filed under religion, bolivia, catholic, religion, christianity, Americas


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