Monsignor Agustin Aleido Roman.
Bishop Emeritus of Miami and Founder of Our Lady of Charity National Shrine.
Monsignor Agustin Aleido Roman Rodriguez, son of Rosendo and Juana, was born in the midst of the Cuban countryside, on the country house “ Casas Viejas”, municipality of San Antonio de los Baños in Havana province, on May 5th, 1928.
He joined the church when he was a teenager and from that moment on he became a true apostle, preaching the Gospel to friends and neighbors. He was one of the student founders of the San Alberto Magno Seminary in Colon, Matanzas where he studied philosophy. After that, he attended the Seminary for Foreign Mission Priests in Montreal, Canada and was ordained to the priesthood on July 5th, 1959, also in Colón, by Monsignor Alberto Martín Villaverde, bishop of Matanzas.
His apostolic zeal and his intense pastoral activity caused him to be harassed, persecuted and imprisoned before being expelled from Cuba in 1961 by the Marxist regime, along with 129 other priests and Bishop Eduardo Boza Masvidal.
Fr. Román worked as a missionary in Chile and arrived in Miami in 1966. While serving as chaplain at Mercy Hospital and also as assistant at St Kieran’s Parish, Archbishop Coleman Carroll entrusted him with the construction of Our Lady of Charity Shrine, which was later designated National Sanctuary. He remained the Rector of the Shrine until his retirement in 2003.
In 1979, Pope John Paul II, named Fr. Agustin Román, Titular Bishop of Sertei and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Miami, where he was ordained by Archbishop Edward McCarthy on March 24, 1979. Father Roman became the first Cuban priest ordained bishop in the United States.
The authenticity of his life as a priest earned him the right to be the most respected voice of the Catholic community and of his fellow Cubans. Fr. Roman managed to attain the peaceful ending of the prisoners uprising in federal jails in Atlanta and Oakdale while acting as the mediator chosen by the prisoners themselves. His mediation was highly appreciated by the national press which considered him a hero. Father Roman responded with his proverbial humility by saying: “A bishop, a priest, is a servant, not a hero.”
It is impossible to describe the apostolic work, pastoral effort, and dedication of this man of God whose sanctity enlightened everyone who had the privilege of working by his side. To the innumerable recognitions received he always responded with a grateful smile but he never let them disturb his profound and sincere humility.
On April 11, 2012, Fr. Roman died the same way he lived: evangelizing, praying for the liberty of Cuba, and giving everything to God and his neighbors. He was, as Archbishop Thomas Wenski said: “The Father Varela of our times.”
Auxiliary Bishop Agustín A. Román
May 25, 2004
- May 5, 1928, San Antonio de los Banos, Havana, Cuba
- To the priesthood, July 5,1959, for the Diocese of Matanzas, Cuba
- Titular Bishop of Sertei and Auxiliary to the Archbishop of Miami, March 24,1979
- Philosophy: St. Albert the Great Seminary, Matanzas, Cuba
- Theology: Seminary for Foreign Missions, Montreal, Canada
- Master's in Religious Studies, Barry College (now university), Miami, Florida
- Master's in Human Resources, Biscayne College (now St. Thomas University), Opa-Locka, Florida
- Diocese of Matanzas, Cuba, 1959 - 1961: Pastor of Coliseo-Lagunillas and Pedro Betancourt parishes, and spiritual director of Catholic Youth
- Expelled from Cuba, September 17,1961, along with 132 fellow priests and Bishop Eduardo Boza Masvidal
- Diocese of Temuco, Chile, 1962 - 1966: Spiritual director and professor of the Institute of Humanities; pastor of Holy Spirit Parish, in Temuco; spiritual director of Cursillo
Archdiocese of Miami, 1966 to present
- He served as Vicar General, Consultor, member of the Archbishop's Executive Council, as well as Vicar for Hispanics from 1976 to 2003
- From 1979 to 1997, he served as Executive Director of the Ministry of Pastoral Service, which includes: Hispanic movements; ministry to Haitians, Blacks and other cultural groups; ministry to families, youth, young adults, the sick, the handicapped, farmworkers, prisoners, and Respect Life
- He served as director, Ministry of Persons, which includes priests, religious and laity, from 1997 to 2003
- Director, Our Lady of Charity Shrine, since 1967; rector emeritus since 2003