Lombe (Agenzia Fides) – Father Jorge Luis Rodríguez Baquero CM, Colombian (from Medellin), of the Congregation of the Mission, founded by Saint Vincent de Paul in 1625, died in a car accident at the age of 57. The accident occurred on Sunday, January 14. Father Jorge Luis was traveling with a confrere and two nuns, who are currently in hospital in a non-serious condition, when he lost control of the vehicle due to the rain and went off the road.
Father Jorge Luis had been coordinating the Angolan Vincentian mission in Lombe (Archdiocese of Malanje) for almost two years (the pandemic had prevented the realization of his desire to leave the country on several occasions), after generously responding to an internal initiative within his congregation the “1 percent campaign” launched in 2018 and promoted by himself. This initiative aimed to attract at least 30 confreres, 1% of the total Vincentian missionaries worldwide, as well as to encourage the missionary spirit throughout the community. Father Jorge Luis was ordained a priest on October 2, 1994 and was director of the “Radio Eucha” station of the Apostolic Prefecture of Tierradentro (Colombia). In addition to his philosophical and theological studies, he specialized in social communication at the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome. He was then entrusted with the management of the Department of Social Communication of the Bishops’ Conference of Colombia and was also an advisor to the then Pontifical Council for Social Communication of the Holy See from 2006 to 2007.
Father Jorge Luis was also executive secretary of the former Communications and Press Department of the Council of Latin American Bishops (CELAM) from 2005 to 2007 and was in charge of communications at the Fifth General Conference of the Latin American and Caribbean Episcopate, held in Aparecida, Brazil, in 2007. Faithful to his missionary vocation, he held various positions in his congregation: he was chaplain in the Spanish Ethnic Mission in London (2008-2010); Rector of the San Pedro Major Seminary in the Diocese of Santo Domingo, Ecuador (2011-2013) and, he headed the Communications Office of the General Curia of his Order from 2014 to 2019, until he decided to go to Angola. Of this mission experience, he recently wrote: “One of the greatest risks we can take in the face of poverty is to become accustomed to it. Every day we are confronted with different situations: poverty, hunger, malnutrition, disease and death. Every day, people of different ages knock on our door. Faced with all this, the worst thing that can happen is to get used to these situations and look at them with indifference. In the first months this reality overwhelms us because of its power, but over time can we become desensitized, which is terrible, because to whom are we to preach the Gospel if we do not know their reality, if we do not suffer with them?”. (EG) (Agenzia Fides, January 16, 2024)