Monsignor Álvarez, "the people's bishop" and victim of Ortega, turns 56

Monsignor Álvarez, “the people’s bishop” and victim of Ortega, turns 56

Mgr Rolando Alvarez, Bishop of the Diocese of Matagalpa, arrives at his 56th birthday, however, this year he will not be able to celebrate it with his parishioners because since August 19, he became the first hierarch to be a prisoner of the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo .

The prelate, who was part of the mediators of the Catholic Church in the first attempt at dialogue during the social outbreak of 2018, was born on November 27, 1966, under the Somoza dictatorship (1937-1979).

Related news: Rolando Álvarez, a man of faith who raised his firm voice against the dictatorship

He was deprived of his liberty after police forces, led by the sanctioned General Commissioner Francisco Díaz and in-law of the Nicaraguan dictator, took him out of the Matagalpa Episcopal Curia. They attributed it to the alleged organization of “violent groups.”

Praise and admiration for Monsignor Álvarez on his 56th birthday

This Sunday he also celebrates 114 days of being kidnapped and of not officially knowing the place where he is being held. The Police have only reported that he is at the home of some relatives; version that in the last week has been denied by human rights organizations. They denounce that the bishop is far from his relatives and that he suffered a fall.

Father Uriel Vallejos, who is in exile, pointed out that the prelate is sick and that the dictatorship does not allow a private doctor to attend him. The only one who has been able to see him twice has been Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, Archbishop of Managua.

Monsignor Álvarez, victim of the dictatorship

This day becomes special for priests and people close to the capital religious. The bishop’s pastoral mission was concentrated in Matagalpa and Estelí, where he serves as apostolic administrator of that Diocese.

Related news: Father Uriel Vallejos assures that Monsignor Álvarez and imprisoned priests are in poor health due to confinement

Those who today regret the news of his arrest, a few years ago applauded the religious Álvarez who, in addition to celebrating a mass or rosaries, rode a horse or an improvised boat made of logs to evangelize in the mountains of northern Nicaragua, threw himself in his cassock into skateboard, danced to the cumbia rhythm with his people Christian songs and even dared to play soccer with youth groups from the most impoverished areas of the country.

Monsignor Silvio Baez, auxiliary bishop of Managua, brother in the faith of Álvarez, expressed to Article 66 through a few brief but emotional words that reminds us of “Monsignor Rolando with nostalgia, because he is a friend and brother, a bishop that I miss.”

Monsignor Álvarez, "the people's bishop" and victim of Ortega, turns 56
“I will not tire of demanding that his integrity be respected and that he be released immediately so that he can return to being in the midst of his people,” said Monsignor Báez.

«And I also remember him with indignation, knowing that he is the victim of a terrible injustice —deprivation of liberty and of preaching the word of God— on the part of the dictatorship —that of Daniel Ortega—. I always ask God for him to be strong, because I know from personal experience how painful it is for a bishop to be separated from his people”, he emphasized from exile.

He remarked that “Rolando —Álvarez— is a compassionate and close pastor, courageous and prophetic. And I will not get tired of demanding that his integrity be respected and that he be released immediately so that he can return to being in the midst of his people ».

Nostalgia for not being able to celebrate this special day

A friend of Monsignor Álvarez, who preferred to omit his name, spoke with this media outlet and expressed his “deep appreciation”, but at the same time nostalgia for not being able to share this special date.

«Since I met Monsignor Rolando José in 2011, when he arrived in the Diocese of Matagalpa, for me personally he has been a teacher, a guide, a trainer, a counselor and a close friend, who has accompanied me both in faith, as in various stages of my life, guiding me and helping me to discern the will of God”, expressed the close friend of the prelate.

Related news: Monsignor Álvarez surpasses Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo in popularity ratings

He affirmed that in addition to being a pastor, the religious is a friend, “a human being of God, who, although he may not know you closely, if he knows that he can help you in something, sees the way to do it directly or through the various pastoral care of the Diocese.

“A person intense in his work”

The slant-eyed priest — as some laymen describe him —, with a thin build and short stature, is described by those close to him as “an intense person in his pastoral work.”

“He is tireless, with exhausting mission days that can start at four in the morning, traveling to rural areas and end late at night with pastoral meetings, an example of dedication and responsibility with the trusting flock,” he added. moved the parishioner of the Diocese of Matagalpa.

He said that arriving at the bishop’s birthday “and without being able to greet him even through a call, a hug or a conversation as we normally do, generates various feelings. Every year we look forward to this date with great joy, but the situation that we are facing has changed the landscape, but it has strengthened our faith”.

«Not a year like this had I prepared myself for November 27 in a spiritual way, offering the novena to the Miraculous Medal for Monsignor Álvarez, living each mass for his liberation and for that of the priests and laity who accompanied him, it has been a intense and spiritual preparation, knowing that through prayers our desires and expressions of affection reach his pastor’s heart and will strengthen him, experiencing the spiritual closeness of a people who incessantly ask God for their speedy deliverance and expectantly await a imminent miracle,” said Álvarez’s friend excitedly.

Exiled priest: “He is a great shepherd who gives his life for his sheep””

A priest, who in September of this year was forced into exile, alluded to the Bishop of Matagalpa as “a great shepherd who gives his life for his sheep and loves them by demonstrating it with deeds, not with words.”

«He is a great teacher because he lives by his principles, and teaches us to live with principles. He is also a man who is firm in his convictions; brave, he is not afraid of anything or anyone. His only fear is to fail the Lord », exalted the priest.

Related news: Monsignor Álvarez “is fine”, there are no negotiations with the regime and the Pope is “super informed”, says Cardinal Brenes

Despite the persecution suffered by the Catholic Church at the hands of the Ortega regime, the priest consulted affirmed that as Christians they are happy. “For us it is a joy and a joy to suffer together with Monsignor Álvarez, just as Christ suffered, who was slandered, imprisoned, set up a false trial, slapped, spit on and mocked “. stressed.

«Humanly it is sad not to be able to be with him, hug him, congratulate him (…) It breaks my soul that he – Monsignor Álvarez – has to be on his birthday in unfair conditions, but it also gives me joy because he is living it from faith, following the testimony of Christ who suffers for his people and who is convinced that he is doing the right thing, fighting against injustice, evil, and corruption,” he added.

Tour of Monsignor Álvarez

Rolando Álvarez has a bachelor’s degree in Theology from the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome, a degree in Philosophy from the Pontifical Gregorian University and a master’s degree in Social Doctrine in the Church from the Pontifical University of Salamanca.

In 2015, due to the discomfort of the residents of the municipality of Rancho Grande, the bishop appointed by Pope Benedict XVI in 2011, the ninth bishop of the Diocese of Matagalpa, led one of the most massive anti-government demonstrations against a mining project, whose cancellation was considered a “defeat” for Ortega before the Nicaraguan peasants.

17 days have passed since the kidnapping of Monsignor Álvarez
114 days have passed since the kidnapping of Monsignor Rolando Álvarez

Álvarez, secretary of the Media of the Nicaraguan Episcopal Conference, founded radio stations and television channels for the Nicaraguan Catholic Church, opened a Twitter account in which he shared his reflections and became something of a celebrity in Matagalpa.

The bishop received national recognition with the popular outburst against Ortega in April 2018, due to some controversial reforms to social security, when, as a mediator in a dialogue between the Government and the opposition, he warned that Nicaragua could only get out of the crisis and aspire to democracy with “deep and root reforms in the electoral system.”

From August 19 to November 27, Álvarez is one of the 12 Catholic priests whom the dictatorship of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo took ruthless against and tries to silence his voice, depriving him of his freedom.

With information from EFE

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