Bishop Emeritus of Arecibo dies

By John McPhaul

Bishop Emeritus of Arecibo Monsignor Iñaki Mallona died Monday, the Day of Saint Philip the Apostle, Patron of the Cathedral of Arecibo, due to natural causes.

Mallona was the third bishop of the Arecibo Diocese since Pope Saint John XXIII erected it on April 30, 1960. For several months his Alzheimer’s condition had been complicated, so the current bishop, Monsignor Daniel Fernández Torres, had made multiple public calls to pray for his health, the diocese said in a written statement.

“Monsignor Iñaki is very dear to our diocese of Arecibo,” Fernández Torres said. “Many people are praying for him.” He recalled that “his arrival as bishop of Arecibo was received with great joy after a long time of waiting, without a properly appointed bishop.”

The current bishop added that a Mallona “[i]n a short time … won everyone’s heart, with his pastor’s heart.”

“Very soon his simplicity, his closeness and his excellent preaching caught our attention,” he said.

During Mallona’s convalescence, Fernández Torres administered the sacrament of the anointing of the sick, a moment at which he described as “a mixture of feelings.”

“On the one hand, sadness because he was in very poor health. On the other, the satisfaction of being able to give that divine consolation precisely to the one who ordained me a priest,” Fernández Torres said.

After Mallona’s passing, the current bishop asked for prayer for his eternal rest, hoping for resurrection in Jesus.

Mallona was born in Vizcaya, Spain, one of the three provinces that make up the Basque region, on July 1, 1932. He professed his holy vows in Angosto on July 23, 1950.

He was ordained a priest in Rome on March 17, 1956. He was appointed third Bishop of Arecibo on Dec. 14, 1991 and ordained a bishop by Saint John Paul II on Jan. 6, 1992. He took office on Jan. 25, 1992.

The date of Mallona’s funeral has yet to be determined.

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