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Leading Cuban prelate retires; replacement named

April 26, 2016

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino, 79, as archbishop of San Cristobal de la Habana, and has named the leader of the nation’s second-largest diocese as his replacement.

Cardinal Ortega y Alamino has served as archbishop of San Cristobal de la Habana since 1981 and was created a cardinal in the consistory of 1994. He hosted visits to Cuba by St. John Paul II (1998), Pope Benedict XVI (2012), and Pope Francis (2015), and took part in the conclaves that elected Pope Benedict and Pope Francis.

The cardinal’s successor is Archbishop Juan García Rodríguez of Camagüey. Born in 1948, he was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Camagüey in 1972. He was appointed an auxiliary bishop in 1997 and archbishop in 2002.

The Caribbean nation of 11.2 million is 60% Catholic. According to recent Vatican statistics, Cuba has 11 dioceses, 283 parishes, and 365 priests, along with 624 religious sisters and 78 seminarians.

 
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