Cardinal José Luis Lacunza (file photo) Cardinal José Luis Lacunza (file photo) 

Panama: Cardinal Lacunza found ‘disoriented’ after 2-day disappearance

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Panama says Cardinal José Luis Lacunza Maestrojuán has been found after disappearing for two days, and thanks everyone for their solidarity.

By Devin Watkins

Cardinal José Luis Lacunza Maestrojuán, the Bishop of David, had disappeared at around 2 PM on Tuesday, January 30, and police had launched an investigation.

He had left home without a cellphone, wallet, or suitcases. The Diocese of David released a statement on Thursday morning saying his disappearance had been reported to police and appealing for prayers.

Several hours later, Cardinal Lacunza was found in the town of Boquete, around 40 kilometers north of David.

A video posted on social media showed Cardinal Lacunza in a car speaking through the window with a police officer, who offers the Cardinal water.

Cardinal Lacunza appeared “disoriented,” according to Archbishop José Domingo Ulloa Mendieta, the Archbishop of Panama.

Archbishop Ulloa told reporters that Cardinal Lacunza has been admitted to a hospital in David to receive medical care.

“We have been officially informed that Cardinal Jose Luis Lacunza has been found in good health but a bit ‘disoriented’ and is now being attended to by paramedics,” he said.

The Attorney General of Panama, Javier Caraballo, had sent investigators to the western province of Chiriquí, where the Diocese of David is located.

He had told reporters on Thursday that the case was “delicate,” involving both national and local police in the investigation.

In a press statement on Thursday, the Diocese of David asked for prayers for the Cardinal Lacunza.

“In this moment,” it read, “we ask the holy people of God to join us in constant prayer, so that with one heart, like the heart of Jesus, we may quickly be reunited with our diocesan pastor.”

Pope Francis created him Cardinal in 2015, making him the first Cardinal in the Panama's history.

He belongs to the Order of Augustinian Recollects (OAR), which was founded in 1588.

Cardinal Lacunza welcomed the Pope to Panama in 2019 on the occasion of the World Youth Day.

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02 February 2024, 09:54