Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) released the following statement today mourning the passing of Monsignor Agustin Roman, Emeritus Auxiliary Bishop of Miami.
Said Ros-Lehtinen: "The passing of Monsignor Roman is not just a loss for the Catholic faithful in South Florida but for all in our community who have fled oppressive regimes or have sought refuge and comfort in the words and support of this gentle man. He was an advocate for God, for fundamental freedoms, and for those whom society had sometimes forgotten. This grand man of prayer and love united us like no other and in his passing we mourn the death of a priest loved by all who met him or heard his homilies.
"Born in Havana, he always felt a light inside of him calling him to a life of service. After he was expelled with over 100 other priests by the Cuban regime in 1961, he worked with the poor in Chile until moving to Miami where he dedicated himself to our community, serving also as a moral and ethical guidepost for us to emulate.
"But his heart was always divided. He could not help but suffer for his homeland of Cuba under the stranglehold of a Communist dictatorship that cares not about human life or basic human dignity. Against all odds, he continued to find ways to assist and support his brothers and sisters on the island gulag.
"While he will always be remembered for founding our local Lady of Charity church overlooking Biscayne Bay, Monsignor Roman was so much more than that.
"I had the privilege of knowing him throughout my adult life. Spending time with Monsignor Roman was always an uplifting experience. One of the proudest moments in my professional and personal life came in 1995 when I arranged for him to give the opening prayer during a session of Congress. His words that morning reflected on the common humanity and origin of all peoples and the need for elected leaders to seek God's wisdom.
"On behalf of the Lehtinen family and of my father, Enrique Ros, on behalf of our South Florida community, I send my deepest condolences to his family and to the Church he loved so much. Let us honor and remember Monsignor Agustin Roman by re-doubling our efforts to bring freedom and democracy to the Cuban people."