In the Dominican Republic yesterday, there was a prayer service for the cardinals and the papal election, said the Rev. Manuel Ruiz via a telephone interview from the island country.
“His years of service to the church are impressive which gives him an edge. We are praying that he may be selected, inspired by the Holy Spirit,” Ruiz said.
“Knowing the struggles facing the church today, it’s going to take a lot of prayer and discernment during the whole process,” Ruiz said.
Lopez Rodriguez was ordained a priest in 1961, became bishop in 1978 and was named cardinal in 1991. In addition to his native Spanish, Lopez Rodriguez speaks English, Italian, German, Portuguese and Latin.
In his native country, he was a university rector and president of the Conference of the Dominican Episcopate. Pope John Paul II appointed him as first bishop when the Diocese of San Francisco de Macoris was formed in 1978.
In 2005, he was a cardinal elector in the papal conclave that selected retired Pope Benedict XVI.
This is the second time Lopez Rodriguez is being consider a viable candidate for the papacy. After the death of Pope John Paul he dismissed the notion while visiting Lawrence.
“I don’t think about those things,” Lopez Rodriguez said in 2003. “I think the Holy Spirit has already chosen its candidate and that is the one who will be chosen ... We have to pray so that the Lord sends us the pope that the Church needs to replace John Paul II, who has been a great leader.”
Jose Genao of Lawrence served as an altar boy with Lopez Rodriguez during his visit to Lawrence.
“He is a righteous man, but when he needs to tell the truth, nothing holds him back,” Genao said.
“If he is elected, I’d be forever grateful to God and the Holy Spirit,” Genao said. “It would be a blessing to the world and to America.”