The mass of inauguration of the new Bishop of Pinar del Río, Msgr. Juan de Dios Hernández, was held on the morning of this Saturday, July 13, in the cathedral of the city of Pinareña. The temple, dedicated to St. Rosendo, proved too small to accommodate the hundreds of people, mostly faithful from the westernmost Cuban territory and the neighboring Haban region. They also accompanied the newly appointed prelated, the rest of the Cuban bishops, as well as Thomas Wenski, Archbishop of Miami and Bishop Emeritus of Pinar del Río, Archbishop José Siro Bacallao.
Before the entry ceremony, Msgr. Juan de Dios Hernández was received in the cathedral atrium by Msgr. Jorge Enrique Serpa, outgoing bishop, and Father Vicente Cabrera, Vicar General of the Diocese, who presented him with the image of Christ crucified, which the new bishop kissed in a sign of affiliation to the saving mystery of God. Then Archbishop John of God blessed the gathered people and went to the tabernacle, accompanied by Msgr. Serpa, to pray before The Sacramentd Jesus.
The Eucharistic celebration began with the reading of the Apostolic Letter by which Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Juan de Dios bishop of Pinar del Río. Archbishop Serpa then invited the bishop to sit in his Chair, with mitre and staff, an act with which he took possession of the diocese.
In a homily very focused on the figure of Christ, Msgr. John of God said that he would come obedient to God in the service of accompanying the Church of Pinar del Río on the path of faith. “I come,” he said, “to give Jesus Christ the most precious gift, the only one that fills us sufficiently.” He claimed to reach the diocese for the purpose of discovering, together with the Pinean community, Jesus Christ and “together to love and imitate Him”. According to his words, three great loves define the path of evangelization: “love for Jesus; love for his Church and this earth.”
In gratitude to God for the gift of arousing pastors who are committed to accompanying Pinar del Río, representatives of the diocesan commissions of Catechesis and Youth Pastoral and Adolescents gave Bishop Juan de Dios del Escudo Civico and the Anthem of the Province of Pinar del Río. In addition, members of the mission, missionary and Pastoral Health committees brought to the altar the map of the diocese with the location of the twenty-six parishes that exist today.
They also offered the new bishop a staff, a symbol that identifies him as pastor of the Pinean flock. Representatives of the Prison Pastoral, the Vocational Pastoral and the Group of Acolytes, also gave him the pecs given by Pope Leo XIII to Pinar del Río when he erected this territory as a diocese one hundred and sixteen years ago.