The Newly Appointed Archbishop of Santiago Announces “Unconditional Availability to God”
In a momentous act of Eucharist held in the multipurpose hall of the Pontifical Catholic University Mother and Teacher, this Saturday saw the appointment of the new archbishop Metropolitan of Santiago, Monsignor Hector Rafael Rodriguez. The solemn ceremony included President Luis Abinader, Vice President Raquel Peña, and representatives of the high ecclesiastical clergy, led by the apostolic nuncio to the country, Monsignor Piergiorgio Bertoldi.
In a moving moment prior to the homily of the new archbishop, Monsignor Jaín Méndez, the secretary of the apostolic nuncio, read the appointment issued by Pope Francis. “And you stand out for human and spiritual gifts that make you ideal to exercise this office. Therefore, in accordance with the advice for bishops and in the fullness of our Apostolic authority, we release you from the link with your previous church and grant you the position of archbishop Metropolitan of Santiago de los Caballeros, imposing on you the obligations that arise from this office,” said Méndez.
In his first address as Archbishop, Hector Rafael Rodriguez expressed mixed feelings about the change, having pastored the Archdiocese of La Vega as bishop for eight years. He highlighted the love he felt for the spiritual, pastoral, and apostolic environment he was leaving, versus his missionary duty to go where the Church sent him. He emphasized that his mission as archbishop will focus on teaching the gospel, announcing the message of salvation, and sanctifying through worship, all while having unconditional availability to God and his brothers.
Monsignor Bertoldi, the representative of the Pope, thanked the work carried out by Monsignor Hector Rafael Rodriguez in La Vega and announced the appointment of Monsignor Carlos Morel Tomás Diplan as apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of that province, until the Holy See designates a new bishop. Monsignor Rodriguez has also assumed the role of President of the Conference of the Dominican Episcopate (CED) and the position of Grand Chancellor and president of the Board of Directors of the Pontifical Catholic University Mother and Teacher. Monsignor Freddy Bretón now becomes archbishop emeritus of James.