Mexican Diocese Chooses First Suffragan

Episcopal News Service. May 31, 1979 [79183]

MEXICO CITY -- A Special Convention of the Diocese of Central and South Mexico held here on May 26, elected one suffragan bishop, but failed to elect a second one according to the original plan.

The Rev. Roberto Martinez, Rector of the San Jose de Gracia Cathedral, was elected on the fifth ballot when he received 18 votes in the clerical order and 73 in the lay order. According to diocesan canons two thirds of the votes cast are necessary for election.

Father Martinez was born on March 18, 1938 in San Bartolo Ozocalpan in the State of Hidalgo. He studied at San Andrew's Seminary here after graduation from the National Polytechnic Institute.

He was ordained deacon in 1971 and priest in 1972. Father Martinez is married to the former Maria Elena Morales. The couple has four children.

Before his present post he was priest-in-charge of Templo de Cristo Church in Guadalajara in the Diocese of Western Mexico.

After the first election, the Convention tried to elect the second bishop but after the tenth ballot it was evident that no election could take place and it was adjourned by the Rt. Rev. Jose G. Saucedo, Bishop of Central and South Mexico.

A tie was produced between the Revs. Claro Huerta and Jose M. Fonseca, after the Rev. Sergio Carranza withdrew from the election in the eighth ballot.

A new Convention is expected to take place in October in order to elect the second suffragan bishop.

Bishop-elect Martinez will live in Nopala in the State of Hidalgo, and he will be in charge of more than 20 congregations scattered around this area to the north of Mexico City. Nopala has been a missionary center of the Episcopal Church for many years.

Bishop Saucedo recalled that it was in 1874 when the then Church of Jesus requested to have a resident bishop in Hidalgo. "Apparently it takes a long time for the Church to respond to the needs of the people," said the bishop in jest.

The second bishop will be placed in Arroyo Sacate, State of Veracruz, where the Episcopal Church is involved in an active missionary enterprise.

Bishop Saucedo will remain in Mexico City and will take care of the missions around Cuernavaca in the State of Morelos.

The Convention was held at the Chapel of St. Andrew's Seminary and was presided over by Bishop Saucedo. Also attending the Convention were the other two bishops of Mexico, the Rt. Rev. Melchor Saucedo from Guadalajara (Diocese of Western Mexico), the Rt. Rev. Leonardo Romero from Monterrey (Diocese of Northern Mexico), and the Rt. Rev. G. Edward Haynsworth, Bishop of El Salvador.

No plans are set yet for the consecration of the new bishop.