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New cardinal profile: Archbishop Alberto Suárez Inda

January 30, 2015

Seventh on the list of new cardinals announced by Pope Francis on January 4 is Archbishop Alberto Suárez Inda, 76, of Morelia, a city of 730,000 that is capital of the western Mexican state of Michoacán. None of his predecessors has been cardinal.

Born in 1939 in Celaya, a city of 450,000 in central Mexico, he studied at the seminary in Morelia and at the Pontifical Gregorian University, from which he received a licentiate in philosophy. He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Morelia in 1964 and taught in the seminary for three years.

In 1973, when the Diocese of Celaya was created from the territory of the Archdiocese of Morelia, he became a priest of the new diocese.

In 1985, St. John Paul II appointed him bishop of Tacámbaro, a city of 25,000 in Michoacán. A decade later, the Pope appointed him archbishop of Morelia. From 2004 to 2009, he served as vice president of the Mexican episcopal conference.

In 2008, Archbishop Suárez Inda helped organize the first national Eucharistic congress in over a century. In December 2013, nine months after Pope Francis was elected, he became the first Mexican bishop to celebrate the extraordinary form of the Mass in his cathedral in over four decades.

In 2014, in his letters to priests, Archbishop Suárez Inda

  • called for intercession for priestly vocations
  • promoted confession on a Lenten weekday by designating 11 churches in which confessions would be heard and the Blessed Sacrament be solemnly exposed over a 14-hour period
  • declared the Fifth Sunday of Lent a “day of charity”
  • urged participation in Morelia’s first “Festival of Life” to counter abortion, homicide, and suicide

During the festival, the archbishop consecrated the archdiocese to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

When the archbishop was named a cardinal, the director of the Holy See Press Office noted that Morelia “is in a region troubled by violence,” with clashes between drug cartels, civilian self-defense militias, and government forces. In 2014, Spain’s leading newspaper reported that “the Knights Templar drug cartel rules” in Morelia.

 
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