Veracruz (Agenzia Fides) - "Jesus told us not to hate those who think differently from us or do us harm. We must persevere, faithful to our faith and await the moment when 'truth will set us free', as the Gospel says. It is not the best moment for Veracruz but we Christians must try to build a state that smiles, even with the resources that come from ancient civilizations": this is what Archbishop Emeritus Sergio Obeso Rivera told Agenzia Fides, immediately after his appointment as Cardinal, with regard to the dramatic situation of violence suffered by the state of Veracruz and on attacks on Catholics who defend human rights in that context.
Among the 14 new Cardinals that Pope Francis will create on 29 June, there is also Sergio Obeso Rivera, who for 28 years was at the Head of the Archdiocese. Archbishop Emeritus Sergio Obeso Rivera affirms: "Pope Francis wants to tell me: continue to serve the Church with your gifts. The example that the Pope gives us goes beyond his intellectual magisterium". The Archbishop Emeritus says: "I did not expect it. I am already 86 years old". The announcement given by Mgr. Reyes during the Pentecost Mass in the Cathedral caused an ovation among the faithful present. In fact, Mgr. Obeso Rivera is very much loved. Among his most recognized merits is his work as President (three times) of the Mexican Episcopal Conference. At that time, as Fr. Rafael González, former rector of the minor seminary, vicar of the judiciary and archdiocesan postulator says to Agenzia Fides, "thanks to Mgr. Sergio’s
diplomatic relations with the presidents of the Republi, Miguel de la Madrid and Carlos Salinas de Gortari, he managed to re-establish relations between the State and the Church, interrupted at the time of President Benito Juárez (1859)". "He is a very intelligent, wise man", says Fr. Rafael, who emphasizes his work in a very big archdiocese.
Cardinal José Francisco Robles Ortega, of Guadalajara, president of the Mexican Episcopal Conference, defined Mgr. Obese "a simple, austere man, extremely available at the service and attentive to the social realities of Mexico".
Mgr. Sergio Obeso Rivera was born in Xalapa on 31 October 1931 and was ordained a priest in Rome, where he studied at the Pontifical Latin American Colegio Pío, in 1954. He was appointed Bishop of Papantla by Blessed Pope Paul VI in 1971, when he was just 39 years old. For 33 years he served his native Archdiocese of Xalapa, until 2007. (SM) (Agenzia Fides, 23/05/2018)