Successor to Murdered Archbishop Poised to Enter the Fray

Cali Prelate Prepared to Mediate

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CALI, Colombia, OCT. 24, 2002 ( The new archbishop of Cali is prepared to mediate for the release of hostages if his mediation is accepted by the parties in conflict and leads to feasible results.

Archbishop Juan Francisco Sarasti Jaramillo’s other priorities include the poverty, unemployment and poor-quality education in Cali.

«Above all, I am concerned that there are people in Cali, I don’t know how many, away from the Church, from faith in Jesus Christ, who forget their condition as baptized» Catholics, the new archbishop said in statements to Cali’s newspaper El País.

He was inaugurated as new archbishop of Cali last week in a public ceremony presided over by Archbishop Beniamino Stella, the apostolic nuncio in the country.

Forty bishops and priests of Colombia, Panama and Venezuela, as well as civil and military authorities, attended the ceremony, where the successor to murdered Archbishop Isaías Duarte Cancino took over his post.

«I am not going to replace Monsignor Duarte … because every person is irreplaceable and in the Church there are no replacements but successions,» said Archbishop Sarasti, who was a close friend of the murdered prelate.

Archbishop Duarte was shot and slain March 16 as he got into his car after celebrating Mass at a group wedding in Good Shepherd Church. He had been known for his opposition to the guerrillas and to drug trafficking in Colombia.

Juan Francisco Sarasti Jaramillo, a religious of the Congregation of Jesus and Mary, was first elected auxiliary bishop of Cali, and eventually appointed bishop of Barrancabermeja on Dec. 23, 1983. He was promoted to the Archdiocese of Ibague on March 25, 1993.

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