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Panama Cardinal: I learned about my appointment by a Whatsapp message

2015-04-11

At the end of the January 4th Angelus prayer,  Pope Francis read a list of new cardinals. At that moment, Bishop José Luis Lacunza became a future cardinal.

That's when most of the world learned about his appointment. But the first cardinal from Panama found out in a less traditional way.

CARD. JOSÉ LUIS LACUNZA
Bishop of David (Panama)
"My oldest sister sent me a Whatsapp message from Spain. I received it at 6:30 when I was at breakfast. She sent me three messages. 'Hey, do you have something to tell us?'; the second message read, 'The Pope has made new appointments'; The third message read, 'How would it affect you? Call me when you can.' I thought, 'My sister has gone crazy. What has gotten into her...'"

A friend of the Lacunza's sister saw the Angelus on television and let her know. The responsibility to inform the new cardinal then fell to her.

MARICHU LACUNZA
Sister of Cardinal Lacunza
"We sent a Whatsapp that said 'Tato, do you have something to tell? I'm very proud of him, very excited. I'm also concerned. All I hope is that God will grant him the wisdom to help the Pope.”

Bishop Lacunza collaborated with then-Cardinal Bergoglio at the Latin American Episcopal Conference. They worked together to draft the Aparecida document, which is a pastoral guide for the Church in Latin America. He said the document is key to understanding Pope Francis.

CARD. JOSÉ LUIS LACUNZA
Bishop of David (Panama)
"I think that the Pope wants to strengthen the life of the Church in Latin America. He also wants to feel surrounded and accompanied by those who  understand the type of Church he wants. That Church is the one desisgned by the Latin American Episcopal Conference, especially in Aparecida."

These have been very intense days. Not only was there an induction ceremony for new cardinals, but Pope Francis also held a consistory. There, he informed the cardinals of his proposals to simplify the Roman Curia. Cardinal Lacunza summarized his days in Rome with just two words.

CARD. JOSÉ LUIS LACUNZA
Bishop of David (Panama)
"Tired but satisfied."

With the newest cardinals, Latin America now has 21 cardinal electors who are eligible to vote in an eventual Conclave.

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