Venezuela Prelates Ask Prayer for President's Health

CARACAS, Venezuela, JULY 6, 2011 ( Bishops of Venezuela are urging the faithful to pray for the health of President Hugo Chávez.

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Chávez was in Cuba for almost a month and last Thursday announced in a video on television that he has cancer. Though he returned to Venezuela on Monday, he did not participate in the parade for Venezuelan Independence Day on Tuesday. A smiling Chávez appeared on the balcony of the presidential residence to the cheers of his supporters.

The vice-president of the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference, Archbishop Roberto Lückert León of Coro, said of the situation: «When the president, with a very simple and humble position, manifested to us Venezuelans the situation of his health he already gave us as Church the opportunity to be able to say publicly that we promote in our communities prayers for the health and recovery of our president.»

Archbishop Lückert said he was pleased that Chávez gave official information; rumors had been circulating since the president’s exit for Cuba.

«We are happy because the black box was opened, today we awoke with clarity and realize he needs the urgent prayer of all,» the prelate stressed after the president’s announcement.

Archbishop Lückert, who on several occasions has been the target of Chávez’s criticisms, appealed for prayers for the president’s health, emphasizing the words used by Chávez himself, «I am sick and I need you, for my recovery.»

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