The Catedral Metropolitana in downtown San José was packed on Thursday as some 3.000 Catholic faithful gathered to inaugurate the new Archbishop of San José, Monseñor José Rafael Quirós Quirós.

Quirós was named the new archbishop of San José by Pope Francisco last month to lead the almost 1.8 million Catholics in the country, becoming the seventh bishop to hold that office, replacing Monseñor Hugo Barrantes Ureña who resigned two years ago.

In his speech Thursday morning, Quirós said Catholics in Costa Rica live a “religion of varnish” and proposed a dynamic church under his leadership.

For the new Archbishop the Church needs to attract the young. “Young people are still that portion of our people we have to worry over”.

The Thursday morning mass was officiated by the Archbishop of Managua (Nicaragua), Leopoldo Brenes, who displayed a show of frienship he shares with Monseñor Quirós. “This appointment is not the product of a political campaign , not a product of contests and competition. It is a moment of grace,” said Brenes.

Almost 300 seminarians dressed in immaculate white walked in rows on the street and up the steps of the Catedral Metropolitana in the heart of San José.

In the front were presidenta Laura Chinchilla, the president of the Legislative Assembly,  Luis Fernando Mendoza, Costa Rica’s first vice-president, Alfio Piva and the minister of Communications, Carlos Roverssi. In the second row, former presidents Miguel Ángel Rodríguez and  Rafael Ángel Calderón sat with their wives.

Once he finished the speech, Monseños Quiros offered a prayer to Virgen de los Ángeles.

Images by Amelia Rueda

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