Cardinal Priest of Saint Mary Mother of Providence in Monte Verde
Born in Lajas, in the diocese of Mayagüez (Puerto Rico), 4 August 1922; ordained 10 April 1950; ordained titular Bishop of Lares and Auxiliary of Ponce 12 October 1960; Bishop of Ponce, 18 November 1963; Archbishop of San Juan, Puerto Rico, 4 November 1964; cardinal 5 March 1973; titular church, St. Mary Mother of Providence (a Monteverde). Archbishop emeritus of San Juan, Puerto Rico (resigned 26 March 1999).
Cardinal Luis Aponte Martìnez is the first Cardinal native of Puerto Rico, as well as the first Bishop native of the island. He is the 57th Bishop of that diocese and the second to be elevated to Archbishop.
He was born 4 August 1922 in Lajas, in the diocese of Ponce (now the diocese of Mayagüez) and he completed his studies at the major seminary of the archdiocese of Boston. In Boston, he was ordained to the priesthood on 10 April 1950. He holds a bachelor of arts degree from the United States. He spent the first three years of his priesthood in the curia of Ponce as secretary of same, and for many years as a parish priest in the same diocese where he was very much appreciated and beloved by the Bishop and faithful.
He was named titular Bishop of Lares on 23 July 1960 and appointed Coadjutor possessing the right of succession to the residential See of Ponce. He received episcopal ordination on 12 October 1960 and on 18 November 1963 he became Bishop of Ponce.
On 4 November 1964, he was promoted to Archbishop of San Juan, succeeding Archbishop James P. Davis, who was transferred to Santa Fe. Cardinal Aponte Martínez is the 57th pastor of the 450 year old archdiocese with over a million Catholics.
He was also President of the Puerto Rican Episcopal Conference. As Bishop he carried out on an intensive pastoral activity in all areas of the archdiocese and the island, and has often spoken out strongly on all the most urgent social problems, giving their varied religious and moral ramifications. In particular, he spoke out against government programs for birth control and sterilization on the island.
Created and proclaimed Cardinal by Paul VI in the consistory of 5 March 1973. Ttitular church, St. Mary of Providence (Monte Verde).