Jose Saucedo, Retired Primate of the Anglican Church of Mexico, Dies in Hospital

Episcopal News Service. September 3, 1998 [98-2223]

(ENS) Archbishop Jose Guadalupe Saucedo, the first primate of the Anglican Church of Mexico who guided the church from a single missionary diocese of the United States to independence, died August 6 at the age of 73. At his bedside were his wife, Juanita, and the couple's four children. Saucedo had been in the Hospital de la Nutricion in Mexico City for two weeks, where he was treated in the intensive care ward for a serious lung infection and diminished kidney function.

The last missionary bishop to be appointed by the Episcopal Church, Saucedo was consecrated bishop of the Episcopal Church's Missionary District of Mexico in 1958. He was the fourth bishop of the diocese.

In succeeding years, he was instrumental in the development of the Episcopal Church in Mexico from one diocese in 1958 to five dioceses that in 1995 formed a newly autonomous province of the Anglican Communion.

"Bishop 'Lupe' was a leader and a pastor, a person that had the vision of a national church and the capacity to make that happen," said the Rev. Ricardo Potter of the Episcopal Church's office of Anglican and global relations. "Lupe was an inspiration to the Mexican church which he received as one diocese and with committed Christian discipleship led its growth into a church of five dioceses.

"He will be remembered as a visionary and a champion of Christian commitment and church expansion," Potter said.

Born in Tiacotepec, Michoacan, in 1924, he attended St. Andrew's College, Guadalajara, and graduated in 1945. He entered Virginia Theological Seminary, and received a bachelor of divinity degree in 1949. Nine years later he received an honorary doctor of divinity degree from the seminary.

The late Presiding Bishop H. St. George Tucker ordained him a deacon in 1949 and Bishop Efrain Salinas y Velasco, who would be Saucedo's immediate predecessor, ordained him priest six months later. From that date until his election as missionary bishop eight years later, he was rector of San Miguel Mission in Cuernavaca.

Saucedo made headlines at home and overseas in 1983 when, as bishop of Central and South Mexico, he was jailed for more than two months by the Mexican authorities for alleged fraud. He was released after an international outcry, including an intervention by the late Presiding Bishop John Allin and the British ambassador, acting at the request of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The charge stemmed from a report from a disgruntled former priest over a property issue. Mexican law forbade the church from owning property. After 72 days in prison, Saucedo was exonerated of all charges by a three-judge panel which said that there were no grounds for prosecution.