Cuba: Spanish priest killed

Our Lady of Regla

Our Lady of Regla

A second Spanish priest in five months has been found dead near Havana,  church officials said yesterday.

The body of Father  Mariano Arroyo Merino, 74,  was discovered  in his room at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Regla, where he served as rector.  The church is  situated on Havana Bay near the capital, the Havana Archbishop's office said in a news release. It said early indications are that the 74-year-old Arroyo was murdered.

 The church did not speculate publicly about a possible motive and did not offer any details.

There was no mention of the priest's death in state media, which generally doesn't report crime news.

The police are still investigating the death of another Spanish priest, Fr Eduardo de la Fuente Serrano, whose body was found in a remote, sparsely populated area just outside the capital in mid-February.

Father Mariano Arroyo was born on 20 February, 1935, in Cabezon de la Sal, Cantabria. He was ordained priest on 17 April, 1960. In 1962, he went to work as a missionary in Santiago, Chile, where he remained until 1968. From 1969 to 1979 working again in Madrid, Spain, as a chaplain and teacher at the seminary. In 1980 he returned to Chile, and served in several parishes in the Diocese of Copiapó.

Fr Arroyo arrived in Cuba in January 1997, the same month Pope John Paul II made a historic visit to the island. In December 2004, he  took up his last appointment in Regla.

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