DAILY CATHOLIC    FRI-SAT-SUN     August 27-29, 1999     vol. 10, no. 162


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      Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday we spotlight each member of the Conclave in alphabetical order. We find this necessary as our dear Sovereign Pontiff Pope John Paul II grows older, clinging to hope, as we join him, of seeing the light of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart with the dawn of the new millennium - the Jubilee Year 2000. How much longer this 264th successor of Peter has left on this earth only God knows for sure, but His Divine Mercy is evident in allowing him to be with us this long for he truly is a saint for our times, truly Christ's Vicar on earth in these waning days before the glorious Reign of the Sacred Heart, the Time of Peace, the Era of the Eucharistic Presence, the New Pentecost, the Second Advent, the Age of the Holy Spirit. What 1999 will bring we have no idea, nor does anyone else, but with John Paul II at the helm, we feel much more secure in knowing God's Will will be done. Nevertheless, we want to preview the future Pope whether that be soon or much, much later, for no one lives forever and eventually one of those prelates will be selected as the 265th successor of Peter. This will give the reader a better insight into the man whom the Holy Spirit will move the conclave to choose. Thus we bring the reader vignettes on each cardinal in alphabetical order gleaned from the Catholic Almanac, The Official Catholic Directory, Inside the Vatican and other sources.

90.   Cardinal Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino

          Born on October 18, 1936 in Jaguey Grande, Cuba in the Matanzas Province, Cardinal Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino, now 63, has had his share of suffering at the hands of the Castro regime during his years as a priest, bishop and cardinal but through perseverance there is a light at the end of the tunnel for him and his Cuban flock because he has never forsaken the Light of Christ.

          After seminary training at St. Albertus Magnus under the direction of the Mission Fathers in Quebec, Canada and Cuba, he was ordained on August 2, 1964 in the Matanzas Cathedral amid consternation and fear among his people for the Cuban President Batista had been overthrown in 1959 and replaced by a leftist guerrilla commando Fidel Castro who was doing all he could to suppress the people, the Church and introduce the red sickle to these Hispanic shores where poverty was already a problem. After two years of pastoral work as a parish priest, he was arrested and thrown into a concentration work camp in 1966 where he made the best of a bad situation in his Gulag in the Unidades Militares de Apoyo a la Produccion by ministering to the poor wretched souls locked up with him. Because of his influence, Castro released him a year later and allowed him to practice as a parish priest in a limited basis at the Church of his birth. Three years later he was reassigned by the Church to the Cathedral of Matanzas where he had been ordained.

          On December 4, 1978 Pope John Paul II elevated him to Bishop of Pinar del Rio and he was installed on January 14, 1979. Two years later on November 20, 1981 he was promoted to Archbishop of Havana, a position he still holds today. Less than three years after being installed, he was honored with the highest honor of the clergy - the cardinalate during the Holy Father's Consistory of November 26, 1994. He was given the titular church of Sts. Aquila and Pricilla and became the first Cuban to be appointed cardinal since the communist revolution in 1959. He serves membership on the Congregation for the Clergy, the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers and the Pontifical Commission for Latin America as well as being the President of the Cuban Episcopal Conference and the main force in bringing the Pope to Cuba two years ago. Through his liaisoning with the Vatican's Secretary for Relations with States Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran and Castro himself, he was able to clear the way for the Holy Father to make his historic trip in January 1998 where he was greeted so enthusiastically and warmly by the Cuban people. The fruits of the Papal Visit and Cardinal Ortega's wise shepherding, Cuba is experiencing a renewal of the Faith and even Castro can't stop the Holy Spirit!

August 27, 1999       volume 10, no. 162


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