Romero, Saucedo Consecrated

Diocesan Press Service. March 6, 1964 [XIX-14]

Traditional consecration ceremonies in the San Jose de Gracia Cathedral, Mexico City, March 1 gave the Missionary District of Mexico two suffragan bishops for the first time in its 60-year-old history.

Consecrated by Presiding Bishop Lichtenberger were the Rt. Rev. Leonardo Romero and the Rt. Rev. Melchor Saucedo. The latter is a brother of Mexico's bishop, the Rt. Rev. Jose G. Saucedo.

Co-consecrators during the morning-long services were Bishop Saucedo and the Rt. Rev. A. Ervine Swift, Missionary Bishop of Puerto Rico. Presenting bishops for the laying on of hands ceremony were the Rt. Rev. Joseph M. Harte, Bishop of Arizona, and the Rt. Rev. John B. Bentley, director of the Overseas Department.

The sermon was preached by the Rt. Rev. Reginald Heber Gooden, Missionary Bishop of the Panama Canal Zone.

Four other bishops participated: the Rt. Rev. Efrain y Velasco, retired Missionary Bishop of Mexico and the first Mexican to hold that position; the Rt. Rev. Anson Phelps Stokes, Bishop of Massachusetts; the Rt. Rev. Robert F. Gibson, Bishop of Virginia; the Rt. Rev. Robert R. Brown, Bishop of Arkansas.

Two indigenous priests, the Rev. Jose N. Robredo, Tlalpan, and the Rev.. Francisco Chaparro, Xolox Los Reyes, presented consents of standing committees and evidences of election.

Master of ceremonies was the Rev. Dr. Gray M. Blandy, dean of the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest, Austin, Texas.

Both new suffragan bishops were elected by the House of Bishops at its October, 1963, meeting in Little Rock, Ark., at the request of Bishop Saucedo.

Prior to their elections, Bishop Romero was rector of the Church of the Ascension, Matamoros, and Bishop Saucedo was dean of St. Andrew's Seminary, Mexico City. Now, they will assist the Bishop of Mexico with work in this missionary district that comprises the entire Republic of Mexico. The Republic covers 763, 944 square miles and has a population of almost 35 million persons. Episcopalians number 6, 622, an increase of 50 per cent over the past 10 years.

Prior to the establishment of the Missionary District of Mexico in 1904--primarily for North Americans living there--there had been in existence for 37 years an independent national Catholic Church. Its priests and members asked to be received into the District as an overseas mission of the Episcopal Church in the U.S. The composition of the church in Mexico today is predominantly Mexican.