Father Harving Padilla de Masaya: "I have a parish for a prison"

Priests remove Father Harving Padilla from a besieged temple in Masaya

The priest Harving Padilla, from the San Juan Bautista church in Masaya, where he was “parish for jail“, managed to leave this Tuesday, after nine days of siege, supported by other priests of the Catholic Church, although his current location is not confirmed. Meanwhile, the bishop of the Diocese of Matagalpa and apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Estelí, Monsignor Rolando Álvarez, celebrated a mass in the San Isidro Labrador temple, in Madriz, after five days of police persecution, which led him to take refuge in the Santo Cristo parish in Managua, from where he left this Monday after a negotiation between a priest and the governmentaccording to Church sources.

During his homily, Monsignor Álvarez reflected on the commitment of the priestly vocation in the service of the most vulnerable and his commitment to the Church and Jesus.

“The priestly vocation is a gift from the heart of Christ. In the priestly vocation, the contrast between the strength and holiness of the teacher he calls and the fragility and smallness of the one who is chosen is experienced. It is Jesus who calls you. He will always be there and will give you the energy and joy to be faithful to his service, to the service of all, without exclusion or exclusivities, but preferentially, of the poorest, of the unprotected, of the disposable of the world, of those of the peripheries as Pope Francis says,” said Monsignor Álvarez.

He added that life consecrated to Jesus “is about a sacrificial following. If you want to be great, then be the last, and if you want to be the first, then be the servant of all. It is a question of a sacrificed follow-up, which excludes all forms of installation or, as they say now, comfort”.

Monsignor Rolando Álvarez presided over the priestly ordination of Deacon Orlan Antonio López Ramírez. // Photo: Diocese of Matagalpa

This is the first mass that Álvarez celebrates with the parishioners after last Sunday, the Police prevented Catholics and the media from entering the Santo Cristo parish, in Managua, where he remained sheltered due to the worsening of police repression. against him.

Monsignor Álvarez arrived in Matagalpa this Monday, guarded by a strong police contingent, and took refuge in the Seminary of that city since morning. This Tuesday, he left the place, in whose surroundings only two police officers remained. Contrary to previous days, of direct police siege, the bishop was not pursued by any police patrol during his journey to Madriz, where he presided over the priestly ordination of deacon Orlan Antonio López Ramírez.

On the night of Thursday, May 19, Monsignor denounced that the Ortega Police persecuted him throughout the day, and invaded the house of his relatives. For that reason, he began “an indefinite water and serum fast until the National Police, through the president or vice president of the Episcopal Conference, only let me know that they will respect my family privacy circle,” he said. .

The bishop explained that his fast “is not a hunger strike”, but rather an “act reflected in the light of the Gospel, an act of salvation. It is not a political issue, but a faith issue,” he said. This Tuesday he invited the Catholic faithful to join the I pray the Thousand Hail Marys on the occasion of the feast of Mary Help of Christians, every May 24, offered by Nicaragua and for this moment of salvation “that we live together.”

They remove police cordon against Father Harving Padilla in Masaya

This Tuesday afternoon, a commission led by the priest Bismarck Conde, foreign vicar of Masaya and two other priests from Managua, managed to remove Father Harving Padilla from the San Juan Bautista parish, which had been under police siege since May 15. , and completely isolated since last weekend, when the agents imposed a fence around the Catholic temple, confirmed a source linked to the Church.

The priest denounced in previous days to CONFIDENTIAL that the police and riot police threatened him with jail and he feared that when he exposed himself they would arrest him. With the priest’s departure, the police cordon was lifted, the source said. So far it is known that the priest Padilla was transferred to a center managed by the Archdiocese of Managua.

“Through their own mouths they said that at some point I was going to leave, and by not allowing food or medicine, they know very well that at any moment the body is going to weaken. They wait for me out there. What more sample can I expect from this Police?

The Ortega siege against priests and bishops

The Daniel Ortega regime and his wife and vice president, Rosario Murillo, have maintained a frontal attack against bishops and priests of the Catholic Church, whom they describe as “terrorists” and “coup plotters” since 2018, when they raised their voices against the repression and massacre that left more than 325 murdered between April and September of that year, and its temples were used as a refuge for hundreds of students and citizens.

During the last four years, the regime has also launched smear campaigns against the Church and its priests, promoting physical and verbal aggression by Ortega fanatics, as occurred with the desecration of the Managua Cathedral during the body mass of the poet. Ernesto Cardenal, in March 2020. They have also threatened several priests with death, forcing them into exile. The auxiliary bishop of Managua, Monsignor Silvio José Báez celebrated three years outside his homeland, this April 23, after leaving at the request of Pope Francis to protect him.

Father Edwin Román, from the San Miguel Church in Masaya, also suffered along with the mortal victims of the repression in Masaya and had to go into exile for his safety. Likewise, the priest César Augusto Gutiérrez, from Masaya, had to leave the country due to the siege of Sandinista fanatics.

Dozens of other priests in different territories of the country have denounced police and paramilitary surveillance, especially during the messages they offer in their homilies. Another form of pressure exerted by the regime against priests has been the refusal to enter the country, as happened with two Franciscans in February 2021 and recently, with the expulsion of the highest representative of the Vatican in Nicaragua, the apostolic nuncio Waldemar Stalislaw Sommertag, in March.

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