Panama Cardinal José Luis Lacunza missing since Tuesday — By: Catholic News Agency

Cardinal José Luis Lacunza Maestrojuán. / Credit: Panamanian Episcopal Conference

ACI Prensa Staff, Feb 1, 2024 / 16:30 pm (CNA).

The Diocese of David in the province of Chiriquí, Panama, reported that Cardinal José Luis Lacunza Maestrojuán “has officially been missing since Tuesday, Jan. 30, of this year, in the afternoon.”

In a Feb. 1 statement, the diocese said that a report has been “filed with the authorities of the public prosecutor’s office, who immediately began investigations concerning the case.”

“At this time we ask the holy people of God to join together in constant prayer, so that with the same heart, like the heart of Jesus, we can soon find our diocesan pastor,” the communiqué stated.

The Panamanian Bishops’ Conference also expressed its concern, urging “all the people of God to join in constant prayer so that we can soon know his whereabouts.”

The Archdiocese of Panama also called for prayers and expressed its concern over Lacunza’s disappearance.

In a Feb. 1 post on X, Metropolitan Archbishop José Domingo Ulloa Mendieta urged “the people of God to join together in prayer at this time, praying for his prompt appearance.”

Regarding the investigation, the nation’s attorney general, Javier Caraballo, informed local media Feb. 1 that “an ongoing investigation” is being carried out. He stressed that a “group of prosecutors from Panama City will travel to Chiriquí to assist in this investigation to see how we can determine the facts.”

The prelate is a prominent figure in the Catholic Church in Panama.

Ordained a priest in 1969 in Pamplona, Spain, for the Order of the Augustinian Recollects, he was named auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Panama in 1985, and St. John Paul II subsequently appointed him bishop of Chitré on Oct. 29, 1994.

On Aug. 28, 1999, he was appointed bishop of the Diocese of David, where he currently serves.

In 2015, Pope Francis made him the first cardinal of the Catholic Church in Panama and of the Order of the Augustinian Recollects.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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