Luis Aponte Martínez
Church positions
See San Juan (emeritus)
Title Cardinal Archbishop Emeritus of San Juan
Period in office January 15, 1965 – March 26, 1999
Successor Most Rev. Roberto González Nieves
Previous post Bishop of Ponce
Created cardinal March 5, 1973
Date of birth August 4, 1922 (1922-08-04) (age 95)
Place of birth Lajas, Puerto Rico

Luis Aponte Martínez (born August 4, 1922) is the only Puerto Rican ever to be consecrated a Cardinal of the Catholic Church, and for 34 years was the Archbishop of San Juan. Cardinal Aponte was a cardinal elector in the two conclaves of 1978.

Early life and education

Styles of
Luis Aponte Martínez
CardinalCoA PioM
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See San Juan (Emeritus)

Aponte Martínez was born in the town of Lajas, Puerto Rico. He came from a large family and his deep religious devotion was evident from an early age. Both his parents and siblings were devoted Catholics and he served as an altar boy for many years in his town's parish church. This experience was, in part, the inspiration that motivated him to take up the vocation of priesthood.

He studied in the Seminary of San Juan in Puerto Rico; from there he went to Boston, Massachusetts where he studied in the Seminary of Saint John. He also attended Boston College and earned his Doctorate from the Seminary of Saint Leo of Florida.

Priesthood and Episcopacy

Aponte was ordained a catholic priest in San German, Puerto Rico in April 10, 1950. Between 1950 and 1960, he was the superintendent of the Catholic schools for the diocese of Ponce and chancellor of the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico. He also served as chaplain for the Puerto Rican National Guard.

On October 12, 1960, Aponte Martinez became the second Puerto Rican (after Juan Alejo de Arizmendi) to be consecrated Bishop, being appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Ponce, Puerto Rico by Pope John XXIII. On April 16, 1963 he was appointed Coadjutor Bishop of Ponce, and on November 18, 1963 succeeded as Bishop of Ponce. In 1964, he became the Archbishop of San Juan at the recommendation of Cardinal Francis Spellman of New York.


On March 5, 1973, Pope Paul VI honored Aponte Martínez by making him a cardinal and allotted to him the title of "Santa Maria della Provvidenza a Monteverde". He held the position of President of the Board of Directors of the Catholic University of Puerto Rico. He was also the President of the Latin American Episcopal Conference.

In 1984, Aponte helped coordinate and was among the many dignitaries who greeted Pope John Paul II, upon his Holiness' visit to Puerto Rico.

Cardinal Aponte was actively involved in some of the church's major acquisitions in Puerto Rico. Among these were a television and radio station and a weekly publication called "El Visitante" (The Visitor). This served to spread the church's point of view all over the island.

Cardinal Aponte retired as Archbishop of San Juan in 1999. He participated in the preparation for the papal conclave of 2005 but was unable to vote, since he was 82 at the time of the conclave.

In 2006, he published his memoirs, Unde hoc mihi.

Preceded by
James Peter Davis
Archbishop of San Juan
Succeeded by
Roberto González Nieves, O.F.M.

Episcopal Succession

Episcopal Lineage
Consecrated by: Francis Spellman
Date of consecration: October 12, 1960
Consecrator of
Bishop Date of consecration
Miguel Rodriguez Rodriguez March 23, 1974
Ulises Aurelio Casiano Vargas April 30, 1976
Héctor Manuel Rivera Pérez August 17, 1979
Enrique Manuel Hernández Rivera August 17, 1979
Hermín Negrón Santana September 7, 1981
Ruben Antonio González Medina February 4, 2001

See also

ru:Апонте Мартинес, Луис fi:Luis Aponte Martínez

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