DAILY CATHOLIC    WEDNESDAY     March 24, 1999     vol. 10, no. 58


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      This new feature that we introduce today will spotlight each member of the Conclave. 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, Inside the Vatican and other sources.

35.   Cardinal Bernardino Ruiz Echeverria, OFM

          The Archbishop emeritus of Guayaquil, Cardinal Bernardino Ruiz Echeverria, OFM is Ecuador's only cardinal who is now retired. He was born in Cotacachi, Ecuador on November 12, 1912 and followed a calling to become a Franciscan by entering the seminary in September 1928 where he was ordained a Friar priest on July 4, 1937. He completed his studies at the Pontifical Univeristy Antonianum in Rome with a degree in Philosophy two years later and then returned to his homeland working in pastoral work throughout Ecuador at the behest of his Franciscan Provincial. During this parish work he founded the organization Communion of the Sick as well as the magazine Paz y Bien.

          On October 23, 1949 Pope Pius XII named him to be ordained to the bishopric being assigned Bishop of Ambato on December 4, 1949. During this time he was voted as Secretary of the Equadorian Institute for Studies of the Amazon Region and became a member of the International Academy and appointed Rector of the Brotherhood of Quito and then Provincial Secretary and Minister of the Friars Minor. On April 10, 1969 Pope Paul VI elevated him to Archbishop of Guayaquil, a post he faithfully held for twenty years until Pope John Paul II tabbed him as Apostolic Administrator of Ibarra where he served until 1995 when he officially retired at the age of 83.

          It was at the age of 82 that the Holy Father named him in the Consistory of November 26, 1994 bestowing on him the cardinalate and the titular church of Saints Nereus and Achilleus. Now retired from all active duty, Cardinal Echeverria was the first and only cardinal from Ecuador, a country boasting nearly a ninety-four percent Catholic population. Its first diocese was established in 1545 and one of the first synods in America was held here in 1570. The influence of the Franciscan missionaries over the centuries has born great fruit producing many religious vocations and providing the country with their favorite son in Cardinal Echeverria.

March 24, 1999       volume 10, no. 58


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