Dictatorship in Nicaragua blocks two priests who attended WYD from returning to the country

World Youth Day 2023 Cardinal Manuel Clemente, the patriarch of Lisbon, was the main celebrant for the Tuesday evening outdoor opening Mass for World Youth Day held at Eduardo VII Park on Aug. 1, 2023. | Credit: Jesus Huerta /JMJ Lisboa 2023/Flickr JMJ Lisboa 2023

The dictatorship of Daniel Ortega prohibited two priests from returning to Nicaragua from Lisbon, Portugal, where they participated in World Youth Day, a lawyer who has conducted research into the human rights abuses of the regime reported.

Lawyer and researcher Martha Patricia Molina said that Father Tomás Sergio Zamora Calderón and Father William Mora were returning to Nicaragua after participating in World Youth Day (WYD) in Lisbon Aug.1–6, attended by Pope Francis and more than a million young people from around the world, including a delegation from Nicaragua.

“The priest Tomás Sergio Zamora Calderón, pastor of the Our Lord of the Miracles Parish, belonging to the Diocese of León, attended WYD2023 (Lisbon, Portugal) and upon his return today the dictatorship prohibited him from entering Nicaragua,” Molina reported Aug. 11 on X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter.

Molina said that the community “is dismayed by the news because he was a dynamic priest and very close to his people.”

Regarding Mora, the researcher reported that “the Sandinista dictatorship prohibited his entry into the national territory” after having also participated in WYD Lisbon 2023.

Mora is pastor of the Christ the King-Ubu Norte Paiwas Parish in the Diocese of Siuna and is in charge of youth ministry. The priest “had an active pastoral life in his community that now wonders what will become of them without their pastor,” Molina wrote on X.

The newspaper La Prensa reported that in recent months the dictatorship of Ortega and his wife, Rosario Murillo, has denied entry to Nicaragua “to more than half a dozen priests and laypeople, most of them Nicaraguan citizens.”

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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