Bogarín, Juan Sinforiano

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Paraguayan archbishop and patriot; b. Mbuyapey, Paraguay, Aug. 21, 1863; d. Asunción, Feb. 25, 1949. Bogarín, son of Juan José Bogarín and Mónica de la Cruz González, was outstanding among the prelates who governed the Church in Paraguay after its independence from Spain, not only for the length of his episcopate (54 years), but especially for the great work of national reconstruction that he accomplished. For 35 years he was the only bishop of the country and was its first archbishop.

As a young man, Bogarín studied in the seminary of Asunción under the Lazarist Fathers; he was ordained on Feb. 24, 1887. For several years he was assigned to the cathedral as curate and diocesan secretary and chancellor. Only seven years after ordination, he was appointed bishop of Paraguay by Pope Leo XIII (Sept. 21, 1894) and consecrated on the feast of San Blás (Feb. 3, 1895) by the Salesian Bishop Luis Lasagna.

The diocese covered 450,000 square kilometers of territory without means of communication and had barely recovered from the war of the Triple Alliance. The bishop visited the whole diocese at least three times, covering 48,425 kilometers, mainly on horseback. In organizing the diocese, he formed a curia and established parishes. He gave the only seminary in the republic strong leadership, a firm spiritual foundation, and an imposing edifice. He brought many religious orders to Paraguay, founded Catholic Action there, and created a Catholic press and radio.

In 1899, Bogarín participated in the First Plenary Council on Latin America, called in Rome by Pope LeoXIII. He was also named first president of the council of state created by the constitution in 1940. He lived to the full his episcopal mottoPro aris et focis. He was an apostle, a tireless preacher, and a patriot. He was his country's outstanding pioneer, builder, spiritual leader, and peacemaker.

[a. achÁ duarte]