(CNN Spanish) –– Pope Francis will preside this Saturday at the Vatican the ceremony of imposition of the cap and cardinal’s ring on Archbishop Adalberto Martínez Flores: he will be the first Paraguayan cardinal of the Catholic Church, as announced by the archbishopric of Asunción.
In an interview with vaticannewsMartínez Flores said that “after 400 years of history, as the First Church in the Río de la Plata, there was a lot of expectation. And of course, when the news broke, this was an impressive uproar. And not because of the person who name, but for the very fact that the pope had a look with Paraguay and has fulfilled a promise to us”.
According to the official agenda, the act will be on Saturday in the Basilica of San Pedro and will be public.
The president of Paraguay, Mario Abdo Benítez, and the first lady, Silvana Abdo, left this Thursday to participate in the ceremony, as reported by the official IP news agency.
According to government information, the presidential delegation will also meet with Pope Francis.
Who is the first Paraguayan cardinal of the Catholic Church?
Monsignor Adalberto Martínez Flores was born on July 8, 1951 in Asunción. He is the second of four brothers.
He studied Economics for three years at the National University of Asunción. In 1973 he traveled to the city of Washington where he studied Advanced English and Philosophy at Oblate College.
In 1977 he traveled to Italy to enter the International Priestly School of the Focolare Movement, in Frascatti. In 1981 he finished his theology studies at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome. He was ordained a priest on August 24, 1985.
He exercised the priestly ministry in the Diocese of St. Thomas of the Virgin Islands, in the United States. He later served as pastor in various parishes in Asunción and was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Asunción on August 15, 1997, receiving episcopal consecration on November 8 of the same year.
On May 18, 2000, he was appointed the first Bishop of San Lorenzo and on February 19, 2007, he was appointed Bishop of San Pedro Apóstol.
Five years later, on March 14, 2012, he was appointed Military Bishop of Paraguay. On June 23, 2018, he was appointed Bishop of the Diocese of Villarrica del Espíritu Santo.
In the Paraguayan Episcopal Conference (CEP) he has been responsible for youth ministry, secretary and since 2018 he has been president of the Episcopate, a position for which he was re-elected in 2021.
He was appointed Archbishop of Asunción on February 17, 2022.